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Micah Parsons Talks Cowboys' Super Bowl Goal, Madden 23, Steph Curry in B/R Interview

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVJune 23, 2022

Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

Stephen Curry is an obvious inspiration for plenty of young point guards looking for an all-time great to model their game after on the court.

Turns out, the four-time champion is also an inspiration for the star linebacker of the Dallas Cowboys.

"It's not just getting better myself, but I've got to help lead this team," Micah Parsons told Bleacher Report when discussing taking a leap in his second NFL season. "That's what the elite players do. I don't think Stephen Curry can go out there and do it by himself, but he makes the people around him better. That's what makes him elite. And that's something I'm going to have to do this year."

That Parsons pointed out what makes Curry "elite" after the Golden State Warriors star just won his fourth championship is notable.

After all, Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy turned heads this offseason when he said of Parsons, "Obviously Micah had a lot of great moments last year, but our desire—and it needs to be his desire—is for him to be an elite player, not just a great player," per ESPN's Todd Archer.

The Penn State product is on the same page.

"My reaction to that is that's the expectation, so there's nothing to get excited about," he said. "I want my coach to believe that I would take that type of jump. It's going to take me focusing on my body and focusing on my mental."

Parsons taking a jump would be a problem for the rest of the NFC East.

All he did in his first season after the Cowboys selected him with the No. 12 overall pick of the 2021 NFL draft was smash through elevated expectations as the Defensive Rookie of the Year, a Pro Bowler and an All-Pro selection with 84 tackles, 13 sacks, three forced fumbles and three passes defended.

NFL @NFL

Defensive Rookie of the Year. First-team All-Pro.<a href="https://twitter.com/MicahhParsons11?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@MicahhParsons11</a>’s rookie season was nothing short of spectacular. 🌟 <a href="https://t.co/c6edJVYcp9">pic.twitter.com/c6edJVYcp9</a>

He proved he is versatile enough to go stride-for-stride with pass-catchers downfield, pursue running backs and cut off their angles, and blitz the quarterback with far too much speed for most offensive tackles.

The 23-year-old is already one of the faces of America's Team, and he is honing his approach ahead of the 2022 campaign.

"My mindset is just let the game slow down," Parsons said. "Trust in my abilities and just go out there and dominate. I just need to learn how to get better and understand my role in the defense and just find a way to keep building off that and be one of the best while minimizing my mistakes as much as possible."

Letting the game slow down and minimizing mistakes doesn't mean he is setting the bar any lower.

In fact, the Cowboys star said a successful season means he would "lead the league in sacks this year, lead in every category and take home some accolades."

Yet he is prioritizing team over everything else.

"That Super Bowl, that's what I really want," Parsons said. "That's what the Cowboys want. That's what I got drafted here for."

Part of that quest for the Lombardi Trophy is learning from players who have reached the sport's mountaintop. The second-year playmaker is working with DeMarcus Ware and Charles Haley, who are two of the best defenders in Dallas history.

Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

Ware was in a similar situation to Parsons when the Cowboys selected him with the No. 11 pick of the 2005 NFL draft and immediately made him a key part of their defense. He ended up playing for them for nine seasons during a career that also included a stop with the Denver Broncos, a Super Bowl title, nine Pro Bowl selections and four All-Pro nods.

As for Haley, he is a Hall of Famer and five-time Super Bowl champion, five-time Pro Bowler and two-time All-Pro who played for the San Francisco 49ers and Cowboys. He was in Dallas for five seasons from 1992 through 1996.

"It's been going good," Parsons said of working with the franchise legends. "Guys coming back to the facility have been a big boost to the team. Just learning from guys who have done it and been there before has been really beneficial and really helpful."

Parsons is hoping the additional work off the field will translate to sacks on it, as well as improved ratings for the virtual version of himself.

He partnered with Madden NFL 23 and will be featured in a commercial for the new game that will be released Aug. 19 with the legendary John Madden on the cover for the first time since the 2000 version.

"I'm hoping to be a high-90s, 99-club member for sure," Parsons, who ended last season with an 88 rating in the game, said. "You really have to be the best player in the game to get that, so I'm hoping I can be one of the best players in the game this year."

Madden NFL 23 @EAMaddenNFL

LB <a href="https://twitter.com/MicahhParsons11?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@MicahhParsons11</a> is going to be a problem in <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Madden23?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Madden23</a> 😤 <br><br>Preorder today <a href="https://t.co/WUKtuZM73y">https://t.co/WUKtuZM73y</a> <a href="https://t.co/UBWx9FXXiQ">pic.twitter.com/UBWx9FXXiQ</a>

While player ratings are always a major discussion point when it comes to new Madden games, the linebacker was thrilled with the opportunity to be a part of such an iconic video game franchise that he plays so often.

"I was super excited, just as a person that plays the game every day," he said. "I've got Madden group chats where we just play every day. Telling them about how I was able to help them with this commercial, it was just super exciting. All the guys were happy for me. I can't even tell you the blessings I feel just to be here and be in this moment."

If he builds on his outstanding rookie performance and further cements himself as one of the best defensive players in the league, those blessings will continue to come.

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