March 18, 2004 by

James Parrish


Categories: Business, Sports

James Herbert Parrish Jr., a former NFL lineman, died on March 10 from cancer. He was 35.

Born in Baltimore, the 6-foot-6, 320-pound offensive tackle attended Temple University on a full scholarship; he studied finance and political science.

In 1992, Parrish launched his professional football career with the Miami Dolphins. Over the next decade, he became a football nomad, playing for Indianapolis, San Diego, San Francisco, Dallas, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, the New York Jets, Chicago and Kansas City. He was a member of two Super Bowl teams — the 1994 Cowboys who beat Buffalo, and the 1996 Steelers who lost to Dallas.

When cancer forced him to retire from the game, Parrish became a successful Merrill Lynch broker in Dallas.

17 Responses to James Parrish

  1. Sabrina Ruffin-Cook

    James Parrish, AKA JP was a childhood friend. We were next door neighbors in Turners Station. You never saw one without the other. As a little boy he could not say “Sabrina” so he would call me “Sheen.” He would stand at the screen door each day and wait for me to come home from school. We would play and go on family trips together. I was older than he was but it didn’t matter. He was my little brother and I was his big sister. As the years pass by, I graduated and went into the military and off to college. We tried to keep in touch as much as we could. Then he went off to college also. Eventhough we were not together, we wer together in spirit and in our minds. Over the last few years JP and I were placed back in touch. He would console me as I went through a difficult marriage that was ending. He always had positive things to say and for me to keep my head up. I could go on and on, but it would be to painful. I had the opportunity to talk to him during his last few months, after my hearing that he was ill. He never focused on his illness, just wanted to know that I was ok.
    I will forever keep JP in my heart, mind, and spirit. I know you’re in good hands!!!!
    Love you,
    Sabrina (Sheen)

  2. Matt Siel

    My family and I moved to Dallas in 1999 as a result of a new job relocation. James and his family (Jennifer and James, Jr. at the time) was one of the first we met while living in a nice apartment complex in Las Colinas. While we were were not there long, our memories of the Parrish family are fond ones. In a new place, your friends become like family. James was a good man who loved his family and cared very much about people in general. When we received a Christmas card in the mail today from his widow Jennifer, we were all stunned at the news. It was the first we had heard of it. Our hearts and prayers go out to Jennifer, Lil’ James and Jordan. Please Parrishes, if you see this call us. We’ve left a message. God is with you and we pray your faith is with him.
    Matt, Cherie, Vaughn and Ila Siel

  3. Hallie and Nick

    When I first met James he was talking very loudly to this cute, extremely tall blonde and I asked he if she needed me to get the manager and Jennifer turned and laughed and said that James meant no harm and that he was her boyfiend. I remember it like it was yesterday. That was the beginning of the most wonderful friendship that I had with James and Jennifer. That’s only one of so many fond memories I have of James.
    Thank you James for all of the great memories. We still have your picture and the card that you autographed for Nick hanging on our wall.
    We miss you!!

  4. Matt, Cherie, Vaughn and Ila Siel

    Dear Jennifer,
    We hope this email finds you well during this holiday season and that God has you and your boys strong in His hand. We would very much like to send you a Christmas card, but we need your correct address. What we could find off the internet was this:
    728 Madison Place
    Sherman, TX 75092
    Please let us know if this is correct, and if not the right one! Our love and prayers are with you! Merry Christmas!
    The Siel Family

  5. Rebecca Coverly Smith

    I used to serve James and his football teammates supper in the Johnson/Hardwick cafeteria. In all honesty, we did not get along when we first met, but became friendly later on. He was a big sweetie at heart, and he will be missed.

  6. Scott Bailey

    I met James and Jennifer in Pittsburgh, PA around ’96. I became his computer go to guy. The last time I talked to him, he was in Dallas as a broker and he and Jen had that great little boy and another one on the way. He informed my of his cancer at that time, but I thought he was beating it.
    I am so very saddend to learn of his passing. He WAS a great big teddy bear and a wonderful guy. He will be greatly missed.
    Scott Bailey

  7. Darren Strickland

    I met James while I was in the Air Force at the Pentagon. This first time we actually met, I was working part-time at Arlington National Cemetery. I am a Dallas Cowboys fan and I was able to take time and give him a personal tour. As we talked, I told him about a retirement ceremony we were having for our First Seargant, who is also a Cowboys fan. James agreed to come be a part of the retirement presenting things from the Cowboys. Spending time with him was an abolute thrill. I still have all of the pictures from that day. He created irreplaceable memories. His kind heart, warm smile is always remembered. I still have his auotgraph I received the first day we met. God bless his family.

  8. LOB

    I miss your man so much! I think about u guys all the time.
    Please email me if you need anything or simply want to talk.
    Talk to you later,

  9. Michael Barbarino

    Thank you James for being a friend. I met you while you were in Pittsburgh. You came up to me and talked to me like I knew you forever. I think that’s why people love you so. You made them feel so welcome. I remember playing laser tag with you and Tal,laughing like a bunch of little kids. I had never been to a Steeler game until I met you. You were the only player I knew. I think about you and the talks we had. My brother Vinnie reminisces with me. Remember Juno’s Halloween party. We miss you James. Thanks for being a great friend and loving person.
    Your Friend
    God bless
    Michael A. Barbarino

  10. Thomas Bundy

    JP was my cousin. He was a giant of a man with a heart to match his size. He treated people with respect and care as though everyone was his best friend. We can all learn from him. Try to live our lives like he lived his.
    I miss you JP, but I will never forget you.
    Love your cousin,


    Sometimes after awhile it may seem as though we forget about good people and good times.My cousin JP was one of those persons that had such an impact, you can recall things from 20 years ago like it just happened yesterday.I remember being nerve racking teased to heart felt consoled by this Big Beautiful man. You will always be in my heart Cuz!!!!
    God be with JP’s family this and every Holiday.
    Much Love,

  12. Matthew Siel

    Dear Jennifer and kids,
    We hope you are doing very well these days and while it has been some time since we have been in Dallas and three years since James passed, we want you to know you are in our thoughts and prayers always. If there is anything we can do, please let us know and if I end up in Dallas again for job training I will be sure to get in touch with you beforehand.
    We wish you a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
    Matt, Cherie, Vaughn and Ila Siel

  13. Cindy Chang

    I met James in the 90’s in Chicagoland. He was a joy (and a pain) to bump heads with. A mountain of a man with a big heart, quick wit, and mind that made my brain hurt at times. I am glad my husband was able to speak with him when he had questions about his cancer. Every now and again James comes up in conversation and he is truly somebody missed in my life. His friendship was a treasure.
    Love and Prayers to Jennifer and family. I wish continued healing in your lives.
    Cindy Chang (Eugene Chang, MD)
    1516 Taylor Point Drive
    Chesapeake, VA 23321

  14. Sachiko Hirasawa

    I met James at Temple University.
    Just for no reason, I was searching my old friends and I found the article of JP’s death.
    I am sending my deepest condolence to his family….
    JP and I became really good friends during my short stay at Temple. I remember he was taking his class next door from mine and he would wait for me after the class so we could walk to the cafeteria together. He treated me like his little sister…
    We even hang out in Tokyo when he came to Japan with Miami Dolphins.
    He came over to my house in Hawaii and met my ex-husband and my daughter.
    I have just found out about JP’s death yesterday and I am having a difficult time accepting the fact. I regret we lost in touch….
    I miss you, James.

  15. Karen Hansley

    I only knew him as JP and we played around Chestnut Ct almost every day. I was a couple of years younger and he always made sure I got home safe everyday. I could tell way back then that he was a blessing to the world and he would make an impact on us all. As I read the nice things that others said about him as an adult I appreciate knowing my elementary school friend and body guard all the more

  16. April Albrecht

    I didn’t know James AT ALL, not even when he played football for the Steelers. I have never been a sports fan. But I do have a lovely memory of him, the one and only time we met. It was at a Grateful Dead show in Pittsburgh at Three Rivers stadium in 1995. My girlfriend and I were trying to sneak passed security to get right in front of Jerry. We were also asking people for change to buy something to drink and eat (yep, we were young Deadheads). This massive man with a smile like gold walked over to us and asked what we were up to.

    “Well, what we want most is to get right up front for the opener but our tickets are for way up there” I pointed off in a third floor balcony. “I could use some water too.”

    He told us to stay put and returned with hot dogs and cokes. Then he walked right through security. We watched him walk away.

    “Hey, Ladies, follow me,” he waved a hand beckoning us passed security. We followed, allowed to pass the security guards. At this point we were just giddy! We had no idea how this was happening or who our hero was. He walked us right smack in front of center stage. We were ecstatic. We both hugged him and asked who he was.

    “James Parrish” he winked. “I play for the Pittsburgh Steelers.” Honestly, I thought he was totally making it up! It wasn’t until the end of tour that I was able to confirm that it had most definitely been James Parrish! I will never forget his random act of kindness!!!

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