By GREG BEACHAM, AP Sports Writer
SAN JOSE, Calif. - Neil Parry remained calm and collected as the quarters ticked by in his historic comeback game.
He didn't get a chance to play until the fourth, but the uncertainty didn't get him down — not after the preparation and training it took just to get on that sideline.
"I thought it would be a little earlier, but ... it was kind of fitting," Parry said. "I mean, why not wait another three quarters?"
Nearly three years after Parry's lower right leg was amputated following a serious injury, Parry returned to San Jose State's special teams wearing a prosthetic right leg in the Spartans' 42-30 loss to Nevada.
Untold hours of hard work culminated in one play for Parry — but now, he isn't satisfied by his amazing return as a blocker on the return unit.
Next time, he wants to hit somebody.
"I'm kind of mad I didn't do anything," Parry said. "I didn't hit anybody. That's all I wanted, was to get out there and get a hit. I just ran down the field."
That disappointing run was nearly a miracle for his fans, family members and an appreciative crowd.
His comeback required 25 operations, 15 prosthetic legs and a determination that awed everyone who knew him. Parry's dream came true when he joined quarterback Scott Rislov and defensive end Philip Perry as team captains for the pregame coin toss.
San Jose State made a second-half rally, cutting a 23-point deficit to five, but lost. Chance Kretschmer rushed for 156 yards and three touchdowns, and Andy Heiser passed for 291 yards as the Wolf Pack racked up 563 total yards and 29 first downs.
"Setbacks make great opportunities for comebacks, which is what this young man did here," San Jose State coach Fitz Hill said. "We'll take his example as a role model for this football team. Hopefully he'll get in there a lot more this year."
Parry is believed to be the first non-kicker ever to suit up for NCAA (news - web sites) football with a prosthetic limb. He received a standing ovation from the Spartan Stadium crowd when his name was announced.
Parry took the field with his teammates for warmups an hour before game time — and except for the media horde of cameras and reporters who followed his every move, he was indistinguishable from the other San Jose State players.
Dressed in his dark blue No. 32 jersey, Parry participated in stretching exercises with ease, smiling while twisting his prosthetic right leg in wide circles and sweeping motions. Several fans in the typically small San Jose State crowd wore No. 32 shirts in anticipation.
But Nevada scored touchdowns on its first four drives, keeping Parry on the sidelines. He was active, slapping his teammates' helmets and yelling encouragement to the special teams.
"I think he wanted it to happen (early) so badly, just to get it over with," said Josh Parry, Neil's older brother who plays with the Philadelphia Eagles (news).
With 13:45 to play, the Wolf Pack finally got stranded deep in their own territory.
The crowd began to chant "Parry! Parry!" as he sprinted onto the field and lined up over the right guard. He hit two players on the snap, then ran easily down the field but couldn't find a block on the return.
"I didn't do everything I hoped I was going to do," Parry said. "I wanted to get one of those big blocks, and I will. I didn't even think about missing my leg. I just thought about what I had to do."
Parry got another standing ovation and more chants of his name as he left the field with a shake of his head. He wasn't in the game when Nevada punted later in the fourth because San Jose State used a different blocking scheme.
Parry severely broke his right leg while playing on kickoff coverage during a game at UTEP on Oct. 14, 2000. Serious infections developed in his leg, and it was amputated nine days later.
Josh Parry was a team captain and star linebacker when his walk-on younger brother was injured three years ago. Josh made Philadelphia's practice squad this summer as a fullback — and the Eagles' bye week gave him a chance to see his brother's comeback.
"I love the game," Josh Parry said. "But I just don't know if I have what he has."
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