Defensive lineman Mike Daniels, one of the Green Bay Packers’ fourth-round draft picks, wasn’t cleared to participate in this weekend’s rookie orientation camp.
Unable to go through drills, Daniels did the next best thing: join himself to the hip of defensive line coach Mike Trgovac.
“I actually found it beneficial to be able to sit back and just take it all in, do a lot of observing, a lot of studying, film work,” Daniels said on Saturday. “Be on the sidelines asking coaches questions, discussing it amongst the other players. So, I’m making the most of this.”
Daniels played through a torn labrum as a senior to record nine sacks — including three sacks and a career-high nine tackles in a late-season game against Purdue and two sacks in the bowl game against Oklahoma. Offseason surgery prevented him from working out at the Scouting Combine, but when the Packers drafted him, he told reporters he had been cleared “two weeks ago.”
That statement, of course, was made before he met with the Packers’ medical staff, which typically is conservative in its approach with players returning from injuries.
“Just being smart, that’s all it is,” Daniels said. “That’s the only way I can put it. They obviously know more than me. That was coming from me, in terms of being cleared. The NFL doctors, they know more than some kid. I’m just doing whatever’s part of our rehabilitation plan here.”
On Friday, coach Mike McCarthy thought Daniels would be able to participate in next week’s individual player workouts. Those on-the-field drills are noncontact, so Daniels would be at little risk of aggravating the injury.
From there, Daniels would be examined during team physicals on Monday, May 21. If Daniels is cleared, he could be on the field for organized team activities, which begin on May 22.
“If you tell a fish not to swim, it’s going to be hard to keep that fish from swimming,” Daniels said. “So, it’s hard to keep a football player from playing football, but you’ve got to be smart about these things. You have to take things slowly. Obviously, they’re the Green Bay Packers. Who’s going to argue with them? They’ve had guys with these setbacks, so to speak, before, and they know that they’re talking about. I have my full faith and trust in them.”
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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org, or leave him a question in Packer Report’s subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.