By Mike Gross

mgross@lnpnews.com

HARRISBURG - Micah Parsons is Harrisburg’s guy, a truth evident as he shared the stage with Steel-High’s state championship football team at the state Capitol Thursday.

Parsons, a Harrisburg High and Penn State grad whom the Dallas Cowboys picked in the first round of the NFL Draft last week, was honored along with the Steamrollers in ceremonies on the front steps of the Capitol.

State champions normally are honored with a proclamation on the floor of the State House or Senate. The pandemic has changed that, so Thursday’s event was arranged by State Rep. Patty Kim to honor “the champions from the 103rd Legislative District.”

She invited Parsons because around here, he’s the man of the moment.

“To have someone here to talk to the players who has made it,’’ Kim said, “I know it meant a lot to them.’’

The Rollers defeated Jeannette 32-20 for the state class A title in November.

“You guys did something I never did,’’ Parsons told Steel-High’s players, referring to the state title, adding that, “I have nothing but love for the city, Harrisburg, Steel-High, (Bishop) McDevitt, Central Dauphin, whatever.’’

The city loves him back. Parsons received the key to the city last week, a few days after becoming the 12th overall pick in draft, and the first linebacker chosen.

He’ll wear No. 11, his college number, in Dallas, thanks to a new NFL rule that loosens restrictions on uniform numbers by position, and thanks to some negotiating with Cowboys’ wide receiver Cedrick Wilson, who’s worn the number the past two seasons.

Parsons has an endorsement deal with Jordan Brand, and wore a black track suit Thursday with the Jordan “Jumpman,’’ logo in red. His father, Terrence, wore an identical outfit as he stood beside his son for the ceremony. Malcom Parsons, Micah’s toddler’s son, sat on his dad’s shoulders.

Micah will report to the Cowboys next week for OTAs (organized team activities).

“I’m super excited,’’ he said. “I’m glad to get No. 11 back, and I can’t wait to get to work.’’

Parsons hasn’t actually played football since late December of 2019, when Penn State defeated Memphis 53-39 in the Cotton Bowl. His performance in that game, including 14 tackles, two sacks and two forced fumbles, may have made Parsons some money. It caused Mark Jones, doing play-by-play of the game for ESPN, tpo gush, “This is maybe the best player I’ve seen all year in college football.’’

Parsons opted out of the 2020 season due to the pandemic. But his performance at Penn State’s Pro Day in March, including a 40-yard dash in 4.39 seconds, further cemented his status as arguably the best, and likely the most versatile, defensive player in the draft.

He seems sincere about his connection to his hometown.

“Anything any kid needs, I want to be there for you,” Parsons said. “It’s deeper than just me. It took a lot of people, … It took a village. I’m thankful for all you guys. Get your degree, get to college, that’s important. I’m thankful. I love you guys.”

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