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Douglass says. "Whenever you change snappers or holders it takes awhile to get used to each other. The consistency we've had together the last couple years has made a big difference."
"Me and another guy basically tied, and there were five other guys there," Douglass remembers. "And they ended up keeping the guy who performed the worst. Seriously, he made something like 6 of 15, but that's the guy they signed because he was an NFL veteran. The rest of us were like, 'Why did you even bring us out here?'
It might not be consolation for Douglass, but the NFL's loss has been the Storm's gain. While half of the Storm's opponents turn every placekicking attempt into an adventure, Douglass is a good bet to hit from anywhere on the field he's hit three field goals of over 55 yards in a Storm uniform rarely surrenders a block, and has even become a competent tackler on the kickoff team when needed.
Storm kicker Parker Douglass kicks an extra point during a game against Wyoming earlier this season. Douglass has been a standout in five years with the Storm, but has not made an NFL roster.(Photo: Emily Spartz / Argus Leader)
Douglass rarely practices with the team, especially this year, as he's taken a full time job that keeps him on the road during the week. Douglass admits the change is something of an acknowledgment that he's not pursuing the NFL anymore.
What's been the difference the past two years? Douglass thinks he's been the same kicker all along. He credits the improved consistency to the team keeping the same group of specialists together. Backup quarterback Martevious Young has been steady as Douglass' holder, and receivers Jeremiah Oates and Judd Harrold provide the consistency at long snapper that gives Douglass confidence to execute his approach.
In 2011 he was back with the Storm, and has been ever since. He has routinely been among the league's most reliable kickers, consistently hitting over 90 percent on extra points and over 50 percent on field goals. With the narrow indoor goal posts and the fact that punts are not allowed those numbers are considered benchmarks.
Riggs calls Douglass the most NFL ready player the Storm have ever had, and that's garnered him respect. The Storm players are confident he can bail them out when needed, and they regard him appropriately.
"I think he's having by far his best year," said Storm coach Kurtiss Riggs, whose undefeated team hosts Texas on Saturday. "He's made more of the long field goals and the big ones we've needed in big situations going into the half or after we miss on a 3rd and long. His kickoffs are really good and he's gotten better at the squib game, which is so important in our league. He's just been very, very good."
Douglass hit his only field goal, all three extra point attempts and executed an onside kick that was nearly recovered.
tighter every year, but that hasn't prevented NFL teams from being shy about giving an unproven free agent a chance. They still tend to fall back on veteran retreads when in need of a kicker.
He didn't make the team, spending Saucony Ignition 4 most of the 2009 season with the Storm, and also kicked in the United Football League with Sacramento and Las Vegas in '09 and 2010.
on nights when there are red zone struggles. In the IFL, that's a luxury.
Douglass was a walk on at SDSU and won the kicking job as a freshman. In four years, he became the most decorated kicker in Jackrabbit history, scoring 321 points and converting 62 field goals. Those were two of the 18 school records Douglass set, erasing Vinatieri's name from the SDSU record book.
He isn't necessarily bitter about the fact that he never got to play in a regular season NFL game, but he feels he was deserving.
Douglass' attempts to follow in Vinatieri's footsteps to the NFL weren't so successful. He was invited to OTA's (Organized Team Activities) with the Cleveland Browns in 2009, and after they let him go he caught on with the Jets for the preseason, appearing in a Monday Night Football exhibition against the Baltimore Ravens.
Embracing a role
Douglass was a three time All Great West Conference selection and in 2006 was named that conference's special teams player of the year.
"It's definitely frustrating but I'm thankful for the opportunities I've had," Douglass adds. "I can't second guess any of the decisions I've made If I hadn't pursued football as much as I did, then I would've second guessed myself. I've gone to combines and outperformed Pro Bowl kickers and not gotten called back. It's out of your control, but I'm proud of how I performed."
"There's such a small margin for error with the uprights in this league that just a little thing can throw it off," Reebok Easytone Womens Shoes
But with his 29th birthday approaching, Douglass has all but accepted that his NFL dream will probably be unrealized, and so he settles for helping the three time defending champion Storm remain atop the IFL, kicking footballs because it's what he does best.
In five years with the team, Douglass has rarely had any competition for the title of best kicker in the IFL, as the former South Dakota State Jackrabbit has given the Storm the kind of consistency that ensures they're going to be able to score points even Saucony Black And Gold
Of course, for Douglass, the IFL success has been bittersweet. The 5 foot 8 Columbus, Neb., native broke virtually all of Adam Vinatieri's kicking records at SDSU, and has gotten a handful of chances in NFL camps, where he acquitted himself well.
It's no secret that competition for one of the 30 kicking jobs in the league gets Reebok Kicks
Storm kicker Douglass keeps kicking career in the air
Trying for a shot
But this year has been Douglass' best. He's connected on 63 percent of field goals (17 for 27), and is the only kicker in the league converting over 90 percent of his extra points (93.7 percent). Last season, Douglass hit a career high 27 field goals at a 60 percent success rate.
Douglass' last shot in the NFL came in 2010 with the Cowboys, and the experience was frustrating for most of the kickers who showed up for the tryout.
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