Want to reach the Super Bowl? The key might be signing B.J. Daniels.
The popular former Seahawks quarterback/wide receiver has seen sparse playing time while bouncing between six teams during his four-year NFL career, but he’s heading to his third Super Bowl as a member of the Falcons’ practice squad.
“It’s amazing. There’s a lot of energy right now in Atlanta,” Daniels told Gee Scott on Monday. “It’s a star-studded event. There’s football, basketball, baseball, rappers. There’s comedians, movie stars, the city is really buzzing right now and there’s a lot of support.”
Daniels, a four-year starter at quarterback at South Florida, was drafted by the 49ers in the seventh round in 2013 and landed in Seattle in October of that year. He served as the team’s No. 3 quarterback in 2013 then began a transition to receiver in 2014, spending that season on the practice squad before he was promoted to the 53-man roster for the playoffs. Daniels made the team in 2015 but was waived and signed to the practice squad three times before being scooped up in December by the Texans as a backup quarterback when T.J. Yates went down with a knee injury. In two games in Houston, he returned four punts, had six rushing attempts and attempted two passes.
Daniels was signed by both the Giants and Bears in 2016 but was out of work again on Sept. 3 and went unsigned until landing with Atlanta in mid-December.
The 27-year-old described his more than three months away from the football field as a “shellshock” and “culture shock.” He said he started looking for more traditional employment that would utilize his degree in criminology.
“I was pursuing my career in Tampa, Florida to work with Hillsborough County Police out there or Tampa City police, so I was transitioning between following my career, my degree, while I continued to work out,” he said. “One thing about me is the grind is important for me. Working out and staying in shape, that’s something I’m going to do for the rest of my life as long as I’m able to still move around, football or not. It was pretty cool. I’d done workouts in those past three months. I went to Green Bay, I went to the Patriots and worked out with them, and fortunately my workout in Atlanta, it worked. It worked out and I’m here.”
Daniels told Scott that there is a similar culture in Atlanta as there was during his time in Seattle. It stars, he said, with the teams’ competitive spirit and ends with head coach Dan Quinn’s belief in “brotherhood.”
“DQ, he’s a family-first guy,” Daniels said of Quinn, formerly Seattle’s defensive coordinator. “He preaches brotherhood and a lot of the same things that Pete Carroll instilled in Seattle when I was there.”
“People have always asked me and I’ve been on different teams, what is the difference? What is the difference in Seattle? What is it that Seattle is doing? What is it about them that makes them so special? It’s honestly the brotherhood and relationships that people have on and off the field. I remember making sure I was getting into my playbook in Seattle and learning my plays and things I needed to because I had teammates that were friends and I didn’t want to let them down. I didn’t want to let Russell down, or Kam or Marshawn or anybody, whether it was in practice or whether it was in games. That’s some of the same things that I’m seeing here in Atlanta.”