Detroit — Rod Wood called it “Mike Daniels: Unplugged.”
And while it may not quite qualify as bulletin board material, for a buttoned-up organization like the Lions, the new defensive tackle’s comments on Wednesday did qualify as brash.
“You’ll see how motivated I am,” said Daniels after being a surprise cut by Green Bay, where he spent seven solid seasons, including a Pro Bowl appearance.
Daniels was one of a quintet of free-agency additions who met with the Detroit Economic Club for the 23rd annual Lions Kickoff Luncheon at Ford Field, one day before the preseason finale Thursday in Cleveland.
Defensive end Trey Flowers, cornerback Justin Coleman, wide receiver Danny Amendola and tight end Jesse James also hit the dais for a roundtable discussion. Coach Matt Patricia, general manager Bob Quinn and Wood, the team’s president, later spoke, but it was Daniels, new to an organization that aims for secrecy, who was the most candid.
Daniels said he was recruited after his release from the Packers by former teammate TJ Lang, who retired from the Lions this offseason.
“One of the biggest things he told me is that you’re at a place where you fit in,” Daniels said. “We have a lot of alpha-type personalities. Not a lot of fake tough guys, but actual tough guys. You’ve got guys who aren’t afraid to confront one another when things go wrong…”
Daniels stopped himself, gesturing to Patricia: “If I’m saying too much, just tell me to shut up.”
Emcee Dan Miller, the radio voice of the Lions, later relayed a story that during camp, Miller was preparing for a pre-planned interview with Quinn and casually asked off-camera about Daniels being on the market.
Quinn played along, but Wednesday revealed that during that conversation, Daniels was right in his office, a short time before agreeing to terms with Detroit.
Quinn added: “Once he got in the building, he didn’t want to leave.”
Daniels, who has called Patricia a “genius,” said he’s anxious to have Matthew Stafford on his team after his Packers teams went 7-7 against him in seven seasons.
“Being a man of faith, when good, bad or indifferent happens, I’m going to be excited,” Daniels said. “When you come to the NFL, you work so hard, you just give everything you’ve got every single day. You walk to that building, you say, ‘They are not going to cut me. I’m not going to get cut, I’m not going to be released, I’m going to make it hard for them.’
“Though when it happened, then I saw an opportunity to play with the Lions, I said, ‘Man, I’m glad I got cut.'
“I’m really excited to be here. Really excited to be here.”
Other notable quotations from the luncheon included:
►Amendola, on embracing Detroit as a newcomer: “Being here in Detroit, learning more about the city, I have become emotionally attached to what this city has and the tradition, and the history that this city has been through. I want to fight hard for the city too, and I want to get as many wins … We’re going to start with one at a time, but then we’re going to count them up and get as many wins as possible.”
►Patricia said the “1934” hat, which he wore last week on the sidelines during the preseason loss to Buffalo just “showed up in his locker.” But he did recognize the significance of the year as the one the Lions moved from Portsmouth, Ohio, to Detroit.
“I love the history of the game, I love to understand who blazed the trails before us,” Patricia said. “Just to get the conversation out there because it is such a prideful thing for us.”
►Wood also discussed how fans can vote for the All-Time Detroit Lions team by visiting detroitlions.com/alltimeteam, which will be unveiled at the Sept. 29 game against Kansas City.
The team is in conjunction with the season-long NFL’s 100-year anniversary celebration.
Matt Schoch is a freelance writer.