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Jets Cut Punter Tommy Parks

September 17, 2001

HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. (AP) _ Tommy Parks’ dream of punting in the NFL lasted one game.

Parks, a former minor-league baseball player and itinerant punter, was released Monday by the New York Jets. With regular punter Tom Tupa apparently recovered from hip and groin injuries, the Jets waived the 32-year-old Parks.

In his only NFL action, he averaged 47.6 yards on five punts against Indianapolis in the season opener. He was not available for comment Monday.

Parks became noteworthy during training camp when it was discovered he lied about his age to get an NFL tryout. Parks was in San Francisco’s training camp in 2000 and was listed as being born on Oct. 14, 1971. His actual birthdate is Oct. 14, 1968.

Parks said he was told by people in baseball not to give his accurate age.

``Through pro baseball, they advised me not to give a correct age,″ he said. ``Some people won’t give you a look. Football never asked my age.

``I have been going by that age for so long it has become a part of me. I am a very unused commodity.″

Parks played semi-pro football in Taiwan and minor league baseball in Colombia, among other places. He kicked for Mississippi State in college, grew up without any parents in Tupelo, Miss. _ Elvis Presley’s hometown _ and idolizes Elvis.

As a child, he was adopted by his grandmother (since deceased). He has no family to speak of, except for Maryann Diaz, a marketing specialist in Reno, Nev., who adopted him in July _ ``I’m the son she never had,″ he said.

``Sports is my family,″ Parks said. ``Without sports, I felt like I had no family. Everything good in my life has been given me by sports.″

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