If you don’t know the story of Mike Daniels, here’s the Reader’s Digest version.
A former two-star recruit, Daniels got a last-minute scholarship offer from Iowa just before National Signing Day. That was his only Power Five offer. He worked his way up the depth chart at Iowa and by the time he was a senior, he led the team in sacks and tackles for loss.
He was then drafted in the fourth round by the Green Bay Packers. Despite the fact that he’s just six-feet tall, Daniels worked his way up the Packers’ depth chart and became a franchise defensive player. In the first season of his four-year, $42 million contract, he was named one of NFL Network’s top 100 players of 2016.
So yeah, Daniels knows a thing or two about working hard.
The Packers’ defensive end joined the Rich Eisen Show on Wednesday to talk about a variety of topics. Eisen, a Michigan grad, brought up the Iowa-Michigan game, which Iowa won on a last-second field goal. The upset victory shook up the B1G East and ultimately kept the Wolverines out of the B1G Championship.
Why did that happen? Daniels offered Eisen an explanation.
“It’s one thing I tell everybody in the (Packers) locker room is that at Iowa, we don’t look like the prettiest, but we’re tougher than you, we probably work harder — I know we work harder than you and we’re more physical than you,” Daniels said. “So if you’re not ready to go, you’re gonna lose the game and you’re gonna be hurt after the game.”
Former Iowa great Chad Greenway would certainly echo that belief, as would many other Hawkeyes that went from unheralded recruits to NFL stars.
But getting back to the Michigan game, Eisen asked Daniels about what he thought about Michigan covering up Iowa’s pink visiting locker room.
“It didn’t work,” Daniels said. “You’re too focused on covering the walls…just come in and play ball. Don’t worry about…(Jim Harbaugh) let the pink get to him. Think about it. When is he ever going to cover the walls of an opposing locker room? Never, right? (Iowa) got him out of his routine.”
We’ll never know if the exact reason for Michigan falling to Iowa was because of the walls. And there are certainly plenty of people in Ann Arbor and across the country that would argue that their team works the hardest.
Whatever the case, the entire Daniels interview was worth your time. He talked more in depth about his journey to reach NFL stardom and how he planned on sneaking into the ESPY’s that night.
Watch it in full here: