GREEN BAY (WITI) — There is no doubt that Aaron Rodgers is the leader of the Green Bay Packers, but on the other side of the ball, a third-year player with a much lower profile is gaining the respect of his teammates.
As the Packers get rolling with training camp practices, Mike Daniels is fired up.
“If you’re not excited, go home. What are there, 1,500, 1,200 players in the NFL? In the whole world? If you’re not excited to do this, go home,” said Daniels.
Daniels isn’t going anywhere, as has become evident in his short career. He’s a man wired to play football, and physical football at that. Daniels would like his Packers teammates to join him in that pursuit.
“Me, personally, as a leader, I’m looking for our defense to get meaner,” said Daniels.
The University of Iowa product said at that time, that he would have no problem challenging his teammates to get feisty.
“We play a violent game. We get paid to be violent, so why not? If you deck somebody in the locker room because of a disagreement, there’s not going to be any sensitivity training. It’s a barbaric sport, so that’s how you want to approach it,” said Daniels.
Those who play with Daniels have some thoughts on his style, as well.
“He’s a tough guy. I wouldn’t want to mess with him or get on his bad side,” said Aaron Rodgers.
“I’ve always been the same person, but coming in as a rookie, you have to respect the vets. Who am I to say anything to anybody, especially somebody with a Super Bowl ring? So I have always been the same person, but now that I’ve been around for a while, I can let my personality flourish,” said Daniels.
His hardcore attitude plays well with the fans and the media, but he’s only made one start in his regular season career.
“He’s a very vocal guy. He wears his emotions on his sleeve, so with that being said, it’s not like he’s doing anything out of the ordinary. He’s just being himself,” said B.J. Raji.
“The sky’s the limit for him as a player, but maybe more-so as a leader. If he can grab a hold of that, he can really get those guys going where they want, on a team where there’s a lot of veteran leaders on that side of the ball,” said Rodgers.
If Rodgers thinks an idea has merit, it’s no surprise the organization’s decision makers feel the same way. Daniels feels his coaches are behind him when it comes to talking the talk, as well as walking the walk.
“I think they recognize the guys that can move people and I can do that, along with several other guys. We are lucky to have a bunch of guys like that. So I think they encourage guys to lead,” said Daniels.
Although Daniels was an undersized and unheralded fourth-round draft pick in 2012, and still barely 6′ tall, his persona and role seem to be a whole lot bigger this year.
Daniels will be leading the defense on Saturday, August 2nd during Packers Family Night at Lambeau Field.