Nearing Return, Mike Daniels Hungry To Make Up For Lost Time

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Photo credit © Kirthmon F. Dozier, Detroit Free Press via Imagn Content Services, LLC
Mike Daniels came to Detroit to be the final piece of a dominant defensive line. 

He hasn't played since Week 3 due to a foot injury, and that D-line has come nowhere close to fulfilling its potential. Detroit's defense, as a whole, is one of the worst in the NFL. 

But Daniels is nearing a return and said Friday he's hungry to make up for lost time.

"Oh yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. If you don’t have that feeling then you’re not a competitor. Any player that has had to miss any amount of time, whether it’s just one game, a quarter, even a series from an injury, they have the feeling, 'Okay, when I get back out there, I gotta get rolling,'" he said. 

Daniels was a limited participant in practice throughout this week, and he's listed as questionable for Sunday's game at Chicago. He also missed the final six games of last season with a foot injury, but this injury is to the other foot. 

"That’s the positive," he said. "The initial foot is an afterthought right now. It’s tough, but it’s all part of God’s plan so I can’t get too upset about it, too angry about it. Just have to keep rehabbing, which is what I have been doing, and looking forward to getting some work this weekend." 

He didn't say he'll be on the field against the Bears for sure, but Daniels sounded optimistic. If he plays, the Lions will be better for it. 

"I play with a certain kind of grit and like to bring good energy," he said. "If you see me play then you can see what I do on the field, but the attitude, the energy, those are the type of things that sometimes you can’t really measure. I feel as though that’s something I can really help bring. I love the game, I love being here and I love my teammates, so looking forward to getting back out there." 

Daniels added later, "Now's the time." 

The Lions signed Daniels to a one-year, $9 million contract after he was cut by the Packers in July. His arrival added to the hype of a defense that last season ranked 10th in the NFL. The hype lasted for the first three quarters of Week 1. Then came Daniels' injury two weeks later, just when he appeared to be putting the original injury behind him. 

He admitted he was frustrated when it first happened, but he's come to look at the bright side.

"I’m like, you know what, I got hurt last year and that led to the chain of events that brought me here and I’m playing for a coach that I really like, with a bunch of guys that respect me and I respect them," Daniels said. "So it looks tough in the beginning, but you never know what God has in store for you. Initially I was like, man, this sucks, but had to remind myself the last injury brought about a lot of good." 

It's been mostly bad for Detroit's defense this year, and the D-line deserves as much blame as anyone. They'll be the first to admit. They're running out of time to fix it, but maybe Daniels will provide a boost.

"Hopefully we can turn the corner this week," he said, "because we definitely have the guys that can get things done and we definitely have the talent and the ability and the right kind of attitude."