"I was at home getting ready to head back to California," Parry said. "I was getting my wife's flight and getting everything packed."
He also was watching the Eagles' game against Detroit.
When Ritchie limped off after a first-quarter punt, Parry's agent called and wondered whether his client might be headed back to the Eagles. The New York Giants also had shown some recent interest, but the Eagles quickly made contact with Parry on Sunday night. By yesterday morning, he had signed a three-year contract.
"When they called this morning, my eyes just started tearing up," Parry said. "It's just so much hard work, and when it pays off. . . . Obviously, I'm happy. I love it here. My wife [Kelli] was with me when I got the call, and the first call I made was to my brother," Parry said.
Parry, 26, often said that his younger brother Neil was the driving force behind his quest to make it on an active NFL roster. Neil Parry, 24, was one of the best stories in college football last year when he returned to the playing field for San Jose State after undergoing 25 surgeries, including the amputation of his lower right leg.
He had suffered multiple fractures of his leg in 2000 while Josh was on the field with him at San Jose State.
"My brother has kept me going," Josh Parry said during training camp at Lehigh.
Parry was on the Eagles' practice squad the last two seasons and through the first two weeks of this season before being released last week. At that point, he thought his NFL dream might be over.
"Absolutely," Parry said. "I thought they wanted to go in a different direction. Jon was so solid, and they didn't need a backup fullback."
Now, the dream is a reality, and it's quite possible that Parry will move to the top of the depth chart at fullback. Reid did not reveal his fullback plan yesterday. His other option is to start rookie fifth-round draft pick Thomas Tapeh.
"I'm going to take a couple of days to think about that," Reid said.
The coach has always liked Parry, who was a linebacker at San Jose State. He made the move to fullback before last season and spent the entire year on the practice squad at that position.
"I know he can play in this league, and I know he can contribute," Reid said. "He's a smart kid who has good hands, is tough and a willing blocker. I know he can step in and play."
Reid typically likes players more familiar with the offense to step in, which may give Parry an edge over Tapeh, at least for the remainder of this season.
"The only thing Thomas has going against him is that he hasn't been in the offense for that long," Reid said. "That's the only negative you can find about him, but he's so willing to learn. Experience is going to be very important for him down the road here. He has a chance to be a really good player."
Ritchie, meanwhile, was visibly dejected before he pulled out of the parking lot at the NovaCare Complex, but he wasn't surprised to learn the severity of his injury.
"I knew when it happened that it was bad," he said.
Ritchie, 30, suffered the injury while covering a first-quarter punt during the Eagles' 30-13 victory over the Lions at Ford Field. As Dirk Johnson's punt bounced into the end zone, Ritchie's left knee gave out around the 25-yard line.
He walked off the field without assistance but later was carted into the locker room. Ritchie had missed just five games during his seven-year career and none since 2001.
"It's new territory for me," Ritchie said. "I don't know what I'm going to do. I've never had to deal with anything like this before."
Reid said the Eagles would miss their fullback. They certainly missed him Sunday as Brian Westbrook struggled for yardage on the ground, running for a season-low 44 yards on 13 carries.
"We'll miss Jon," Reid said. "He's a good football player, and he's great in the locker room. I'll encourage him to make sure he sticks around and hangs around the team as much as possible because I think he's such a positive influence."
Staff writer Shannon Ryan contributed to this article.
Contact staff writer Bob Brookover at 215-854-2577 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Josh Parry
Weight: 250 pounds.
College: San Jose State.
Background: Parry spent the entire 2003 season on the practice squad as a fullback. He had spent the previous two training camps with the Eagles as a linebacker.. . . He was originally signed by the Eagles as a rookie free agent in 2001. . . . Parry had five catches for 68 yards during the preseason, but was released Sept. 1. He was re-signed to the practice squad on Sept. 6, but was released Wednesday. . . . At San Jose State, he had 354 tackles while starting all 43 games.