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Helmets Off: Stanley Daniels

Posted Sep 16, 2010

Stanley Daniels speaks with DenverBroncos.com about his long road to the NFL in the latest edition of 'Helmets Off.'


ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- After seeing his first career NFL action in a start against Jacksonville last week, Stanley Daniels can't wait for the home opener against Seattle.

The first-year guard from the University of Washington doesn't take the NFL for granted after entering the league as a college free agent with the Rams and spending time on practice squads for the Jets and the Packers before coming to Denver.

Last week was the first regular season start of your career. What was that experience like?

"It was a great experience, a good group of guys, a great O-Line coach, a great head coach, our whole offensive staff. I was happy and excited, but obviously we didn't win, so not satisfied with my performance. I look forward to playing in our first home game."

Was it everything you thought it would be?

"The NFL is everything everyone thinks it is on the field. It's very fast, very exciting, very physical and anything and everything happens out there."

What was the most important lesson you took away from that game about NFL football?

"The thing I've learned is that attention to detail is at a high premium. The little things that you really don't see on TV in and out of every play, taking the right step, having your hat in the right place, those things that you practice during the week are very, very important. The biggest thing I've learned is really paying attention to detail on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday."

How helpful was it to go through that with J.D. Walton and Zane Beadles, who were also getting their first NFL experience?

"J.D. is a good player and Zane is a good player as well, so our group of offensive lineman, we have really good chemistry and we play hard. We've had a hard training camp obviously, which is why we play hard. It was good to get out there with the guys in their first start. They played well, both of them."

By your count you said you've been cut four times by different teams. What kind of perspective does that give you, and what type of appreciation does that give you for playing on Sunday?

"For me it means a lot. I took it very seriously, and I take this game -- our job -- very seriously because I know, of all people, how fast it can be taken from you. I can't say the majority of the NFL understands that. A lot of guys are drafted and a lot of guys are big name guys. There are a lot of guys that are undrafted and have to take the long road, and those are the guys that really appreciate it the most."

How does Denver stack up to the other cities you've played in -- New York, St. Louis and Green Bay?

"Denver is a great city. The people here are really nice. They've been really courteous. Our fans are some of the best fans in the world, and it's been a true blessing to be here."

You were originally a defensive lineman and a tight end. What was it like to make the change to O-line?

"I played tight end in high school, I played defense in college coming out and then I made the switch to offense. You just have to be tough and be a football player. The mindset of a football player is basically the same thing, really tough and hard-nosed."

What was your reaction in college when the coaches called you into the office and said, "Hey Stanley, we'd like you to play offensive line?

"Obviously I was upset about it. I was looking forward to taking the 3-technique position that Tank Johnson was vacating when he left to the draft, but everything happens for a reason and that was my path."

What was it like to be the oldest of eight siblings?

"It was hard, you know? We grew up rough. My mom had eight children and I'm the oldest. A lot of people don't know, but when I was young my father was actually murdered. That was something that I had to take the brunt of as the oldest son. It was rough, but whenever you have a lot of brothers and a sister like that, love is at a high premium and staying together is at a high premium, so we did."

How did that tragedy affect your approach to life and your approach to the game of football?

"In that situation you have to grow up fast, and you have to step up and be a man fast. You miss some of your childhood obviously, but translating into football it's just like now. Coach told us that young players have to grow up, good players have to play great and great players have to take it to the next step. Life and football are similar."

What was it like to be the man of the house for all your siblings?

"You just have to do it. That's the thing you have to do. It's something that's the difference between the man and a boy. A boy does what he wants and a man does what he has to. It's something that I just had to do as the oldest son. Finally, I can help support my family and take some of the strain and stress off my mom."

Your uncle Ray May played 13 seasons in the NFL, including three with the Broncos, so were you Broncos fan at all during that time?

"I was a Broncos fan because of TD (Terrell Davis). He's from San Diego, he grew up in southeast San Diego where I'm from, he went to Lincoln High School, which was two blocks from my house, so I was a Denver fan well before that. Ray did have a long career, and hopefully I can have one like him."

What was it like being a Broncos fan surrounded by a bunch of Chargers fans?

"Being from San Diego, you're a San Diego guy, but whenever they played the Broncos and played against Terrell Davis it's kind of like you're rooting for Davis but you're still going for your team. That's how it was growing up where I was from."

How exciting is it to know you're going back to San Diego for Monday Night Football this year?

"It's going to be very exciting to go home and play the Chargers. Obviously they're a good team in our division, and it's going to be exciting for a lot of reasons."

Your Washington teammate Roy Lewis will be in town this week with the Seahawks, did you ask him to bring you anything from Seattle?

"(Laughs) No. Roy is one of my best friends. He's one of the guys that came from Washington when we were going through everything we went through there, went the undrafted road and has really made a name for himself. I'm really happy for him and proud for him."

Will you get a chance to hang out with him before the game?

"Probably not. It's all business, but we'll definitely text message on the phone. He's my boy until the game starts. That's how it works, and he knows that too."

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