FRISCO, Texas – Within the context of NFL football, this is about as close to a homecoming as Micah Parsons is going to get.
The former Penn State star famously hails from Pennsylvania's state capital of Harrisburg, located roughly 100 miles west of Philadelphia. He'll have plenty of friends and family make the short drive to Lincoln Financial Field on Saturday night, giving him a sort of personal homefield experience.
From the sounds of it, though, fond feelings about a trip back to his home state aren't at the front of the rookie linebacker's mind.
"Nope, I'm just going up there to kick some butt," Parsons said Tuesday.
Understandably, Parsons and the Cowboys have bigger things to worry about at this late stage in the season. For starters, they'd love to bounce back from a disappointing loss to Arizona and finish the regular season on a high note – possibly improving their playoff seeding in the process.
Despite making the Pro Bowl in his first year in the league, Parsons said the thought hadn't crossed his mind that he might sit out of this game against the Eagles in order to rest for the postseason.
"I never even thought about missing a game right now, especially going into the playoffs," he said. "Just kind of want to stay hot, stay fresh, keep playing good ball."
That last part goes without saying for Parsons. Despite not notching a sack in that 25-22 loss to the Cardinals, the rookie finished with five tackles, two tackles for loss and a quarterback hit. It was the latest example of Parsons being able to affect a game, even if he's not exclusively rushing the quarterback.
"I take complete pride in being the most versatile player in the NFL," he said.
Parsons' season speak for itself in that regard. It's wild to think that he began training camp with the perception of being raw, a bit of an unknown commodity after sitting out his final season of college.
Fast forward to Tuesday afternoon, and Parsons was asked about both breaking Jevon Kearse's rookie sack record of 14.5 and winning NFL Defensive Player of the Year – and perhaps the wildest part of all is that neither of those things seems impossible.
Sitting on 13 sacks and 84 tackles with one game left to play, Parsons didn't shy away from talking about those things, either.
"I just do a lot of very different things on defense that change the game. I never play just one position," he said. "I feel like, if I could just rush, I might be a 18-20 sack guy, too. And if I just stayed in pass coverage and run, I might be a 100-tackle guy, too."
It's hard to ignore the fact that Pittsburgh's T.J. Watt notched four sacks in Monday night's win against Cleveland, putting him just 1.5 away from the NFL record. That fact, combined with his near miss at the award in 2020, might help him win NFL DPOY.
He might be willing to talk about them, but Parsons said he's not worried about those achievements. It might not be a homecoming, but he's got one more chance to make an impression on Saturday – and in the postseason that's waiting.
"All I know is I've got a game this week, and I've got to prepare for a playoff game next week," he said.