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Tribune News Service
Tribune News Service
Clarence E. Hill Jr.

DPOY award or not, Dallas Cowboys LB Micah Parsons wants his own category of greatness

FRISCO, Texas — San Francisco 49ers defensive Nick Bosa has seemingly all but locked up NFL Defensive Player of the Year Honors.

As the NFL leader in sacks with 18.5 on the league’s best defense, it’s a foregone conclusion for Bosa, one that even Dallas Cowboys linebacker Micah Parsons begrudgingly concedes.

But the title for the NFL’s best and most disruptive defender remains up for much debate.

And if Parsons, who set the tone in the Cowboys’ 31-14 wildcard victory against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with the best performance by any defender on the opening weekend of the playoffs, can repeat that effort against the 49ers in Sunday’s NFC Divisional playoffs, that’s all that really matters.

Parsons is focused on getting the Cowboys to the championship game for the first time in 27 years and a chance to win the Super Bowl for the first time since 1995, official NFL individual hardware be damned.

“There is no motivation (to outplay Bosa),” Parsons said. “I love Bosa. I love what he does and what he brings to the game. He brings a great motor. He’s a technician. I’ve actually watched some of the stuff he does. He’s great for the game. We’re going to put on a show of being the best players we can be a dominate in that fashion. He’s going to do his thing. I’m going to do my thing and what he does is no factor to what I do.

“My goal is the Super Bowl.”

While Parsons was seventh in NFL with 13.5, his versatility and ability to do more things to disrupt a game a linebacker, edge rusher, blitzer and run stopper is what sets him apart from Bosa in the minds of the Cowboys.

It’s what allowed him to take the defense to next level against the Buccaneers when he saw more snaps at linebacker than he has over the last eight games, while also playing his highest percentage of snaps (96 percent) in a game since the season opener.

Parsons had a sack, a tackle for a loss, a league-playoff high nine quarterback pressures and two pass deflections to almost solely wreck the Tampa Bay offense and possibly send seven-time Super Bowl champion quarterback Tom Brady into retirement.

Parsons said his versatility makes him dangerous because the offense can’t key their protection on him at one spot.

“I can rush from the left side, the right side, the guard, center, it don’t matter where we’re at,” Parsons said. “I feel I can beat anybody.”

Safety Jayron Kearse said Parsons is in a zone that he saw coming last week in practice and it uplifts the entire defense.

It gives “us a lot of juice. A lot of juice,” Kearse said. “You just felt it from him all week. You knew what the type of game he was going to have. He had one sack but he was disruptive all game. And I just kept reiterating throughout the week and throughout the course of the game that he drives this thing. When he’s being Micah, everything is smooth. He can single-handedly disrupt the whole entire offense. And we saw that last week.”

“I don’t have any doubt in my mind he’s not going to come back this week and have a bigger chip on his shoulder being what went on last year and how it ended for us,” Kearse said

The 49ers who knocked the Cowboys out the playoffs last year and now its Bosa is likely taking the DPOY award that Parsons covets.

Parsons, however, said he is motivated by his own greatness. He has no interest in being compared to Boso, who he considers a respected friend and combatant.

And while he is humbled the comparisons to Hall of Fame linebacker Lawrence Taylor, the only other defender to be named first-time All-Pro in his first two seasons in the NFL, Parsons says he wants to be in a category of one.

“I think it’s an honor but I think I’m not really playing to be like LT,” Parsons said. “There’s always that thing where they say, ‘I don’t want you to be like me. I want you to be better than me. So my goal is to be the best. It’s not to be representing. I want to be in my own category. Like you don’t put Kobe in the same category as you do LeBron. Even though you’ve known them as great players but they’re not in the same box. They created their own style, their own vision of how they want to play the game.

“That’s how I want to be remembered. I want to bring my own style, my own vision, my own passion for the game.”

One week after saying legends are made in the postseason, Parsons hopes to follow up his strong game against the Buccaneers by create his own masterpiece against the 49ers on Sunday.

“The bigger the stage, the bigger the player, right?” Parsons asked rhetorically and confidently.

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