Meet new Detroit Lions DL Mike Daniels: 'I'm a dork with muscles'

Kirkland Crawford
Detroit Free Press
View Comments

The Detroit Lions have added to and already solid defensive line, signing defensive lineman Mike Daniels to a one-year deal.

Here's a quick primer on the 6-foot, 310-pound 30-year-old former Green Bay Packers DT:

Multi-sport star

Daniels did more than just play football at Blackwood (N.J.) Highland Regional High School. He was a three-year letterman in wrestling and threw the discus and shot put. 

And even on the football field, he was a handful on offense and defense. He was a senior captain, when he ran for over 2,000 yards in his career. 

Daniels grew up on the East Coast, but was only a 2-star prospect out of high school. He played college ball at Iowa, where he played in every game in this junior and senior seasons. In those two years, he was named to the All-Big Ten honorable mention and then All- Big Ten second team. 

He was drafted in the fourth round by the Packers in 2012. 

First TD came ... vs. Lions

It feels like a rite of passage for the rest of the NFC North defenders, right? Daniels' first, and only, score in the NFL was as a rookie in 2012. On Dec. 9, 2012, he recovered a Matthew Stafford fumble in the second quarter of the Sunday Night Football game at Lambeau Field and rumbled 43 yards for the touchdown.

It proved to be the difference in the Packers' 27-20 win. 

In his career, Daniels has 30 tackles, including five for loss and two sacks, seven quarterback hits and two fumble recoveries in 13 games against Detroit.

'I'm a dork with muscles, baby'

Mike Daniels at OTAs on May 22, 2018.

Daniels loves anime, the Japanese cartoon genre. So much so, he used to get teased about it in high school.

But his retort was hard to argue with.

“I’m, like, precisely. I’m a dork with muscles, baby, and there’s nothing you can do about it, because I’ll put you in the locker. I’ll never forget that, because I think it’s hilarious,” he told the Green Bay Gazette last year.

That Pro Bowl season

His best season as a pro was in 2017, when he had 49 tackles, 10 for loss, five sacks and a forced fumble in 14 games. That was good enough to earn a bid to the Pro Bowl. 

Daniels was about to enter the final year of a four-year, $42 million deal with the Packers. But the team was looking to get younger and, after being unable to pull off a trade, cut Daniels. 

Last season, Daniels played in just 10 games before a foot injury cut his 2018 short.

Nice timing

Daniels and his wife, Heaven, were very active in charitable efforts in Wisconsin. Just this month, they hosted the Daniels Back to School Bash in Green Bay for kids, providing backpacks full of school supplies. 

The couple share four children and get this: the first three all have the same birthday of Aug. 3

Contact Kirkland Crawford: Follow him on Twitter @HiKirkHere.

View Comments