Some players take slights, perceived or actual, and use them as motivation to achieve great things in their careers. For other players, it’s the beginning of a downward spiral.
Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers is well-known for falling into the first group, meticulously documenting seemingly everything negative anyone has ever said about him. He has used that to become the leader of the Packers offense and one of the best quarterbacks in the league.
The Packers’ defensive leader, defensive lineman Mike Daniels says a slight by the team during his rookies season is what drove him to become one of the best defensive linemen in the league.
“In our very first game, I was the only one of those (2012) defensive (draft picks) that was deactivated. It was like you just took a dog foaming at the mouth and you beat him. That’s basically what happened here. And I was like, ‘OK. I’m going to show them my stuff the best I can and learn how to play in the NFL.'”
“My mentality is to do something about it. I wasn’t happy that I wasn’t playing. Sean Richardson and I were the only defensive rookies that were deactivated and I was the only draft pick. They took the dog foaming at the mouth and beat him with a stick. So bite harder.”
It’s interesting that both Rodgers and Daniels have this same mindset, considering they now essentially are the face of the team on their respective sides of the football.
Both guys were lightly recruited in high school. Rodgers chose to go the junior college route before heading to Cal and Daniels took the only Division 1 offer he got, which was from Iowa.
Rodgers’ slide in the 2005 draft (along with all the negative scouting reports) served as his motivation. Daniels’ being relegated to the inactive list served as his.
Daniels hasn’t achieved what Rodgers has by any means, but he’s also just entering his prime. After a breakout season in 2015 in which he proved he was one of the best defensive linemen in the NFL, the Packers rewarded Daniels with a contract that averages $10 million annually.
That’s no mistake. We expect even bigger things from Daniels in 2016 and beyond.
Not everyone can, but some guys can turn a negative into a positive. We’re glad the Packers have two of them and we’re certainly glad one is Mike Daniels.