CEDAR RAPIDS — Tre Parmalee says his love of football began right out of the womb.
The son of former NFL running back Bernie Parmalee received his indoctrination to the game as a Florida toddler in, of all places, the family living room.
“He started throwing the football to me when I was 3 years old,” said Parmalee, who will try to help the Cedar Rapids Titans earn their first win of the Indoor Football League season against unbeaten Wichita Falls Saturday at 7:05 p.m. at the U.S. Cellular Center.
“Started catching it then and shortly after that I was playing flag and tackle, I think, at 6 years old. I’ve been brought up with it my whole life. I love the game. I want to play it as long as I can.”
The Cedar Rapids rookie wide receiver is off to a strong start. Through two games, the 5-foot-10, 175-pound Parmalee ranks second in the IFL in receptions per game (6.5) and is fourth in yards per game (72).
“He’s a smart receiver,” Cedar Rapids Coach Marvin McNutt said. “It helps to be able to put him in different spots and he knows what he’s going to have to do and how to get open. … He’s really a good weapon for our offense and a guy that people can depend on.”
Bernie Parmalee enjoyed a nine-year NFL career with the Miami Dolphins and New York Jets, then transitioned into assistant coaching positions in both college ball and the NFL. Tre initially elected to follow in his father’s footsteps and play tailback, but as he began to physically mature as a prep underclassman, he was moved to receiver. Parmalee was an all-state performer for Kansas prep power Bishop Miege and earned a scholarship to play collegiately for the University of Kansas.
Injuries limited Parmalee to 35 games in four seasons with the Jayhawks, but a strong 2015 senior season (41 catches, 599 yards, three TDs) yielded an invitation to attend a rookie minicamp last year with the Oakland Raiders, where his father was beginning his second season as running backs coach.
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With the taste of the NFL still fresh in his mind, Parmalee aspires to perform well enough at the IFL level to advance his professional prospects.
“It’s an opportunity,” Parmalee said. “You can’t really pass up on one because you don’t know if another one is going to come. It’s an opportunity. I’m here now. Running full force with it, trying to make the best of it and hopefully I get some looks after this and get to that goal that I have in mind.”
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