Packers lock up DL Mike Daniels to contract extension
GREEN BAY, WIS. — Mike Daniels plans to stick with the same approach that got him a contract extension with the Green Bay Packers on Monday.
Growing up, Daniels said he got overlooked in high school. Only Iowa looked at Daniels as he headed to college. And entering the draft in 2012, the 6-foot Daniels heard the questions about his height and strength, and whether he could play against the run in the NFL.
Four seasons later, he has turned into a key figure on the defensive line for the Packers.
The contract extension is worth $42 million over four years, according to a person familiar with the deal who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the team has not released contract details. ESPN.com first reported financial terms.
"It doesn't change the fact that I had to grind to get to where I'm at," Daniels said. "Success is just a product of the work I'm doing. I'll just keep on working."
Daniels sets the tone with a tough-guy personality and seemingly non-stop motor on the field. He has become a force on the line, aided in part also by the return of B.J. Raji this season from an arm injury.
Coach Mike McCarthy likened Daniels' style of play to a "buzz saw," who has become more of a student of the game. Defensive coordinator Dom Capers pointed to Daniels' temperament as a strength.
"He's got a great defensive temperament," Capers said. "He has the quickness and acceleration to get off the block and make a play ... He does all the things he asks you as a coach."
Daniels has 56 tackles, four sacks and a forced fumble this year. The fourth-round draft pick is second on the team with 12 quarterback hits and 19 pressures.
Born in New Jersey, Daniels stays in Green Bay in the offseason.
"Everybody leaves," Daniels joked. "I must love the snow, right?"
Daniels told his agent he wanted to stay in Green Bay. The deal keeps Daniels off the open market in the offseason, when he would have been one of the top available free agents.
Talks had cooled off before a conversation about a potential extension began last week. It was announced on Monday, by which time a few smiles and laughs broke through Daniels' normally stoic face.
The signing of Daniels solidifies his standing as a core player on a defense that has played relatively well over the last five weeks, giving up about 15 points per game during that span. Green Bay beat Dallas 28-7 on Sunday to take a one-game lead in the NFC North over Minnesota.
Besides Daniels, linebacker Clay Matthews, cornerback Sam Shields and safety Morgan Burnett are among the key defensive players under contract for the next few years or beyond.
As for Daniels, he has moved on to getting ready for next weekend's game against the Raiders.
"It's here, it's done. My name is on the paper. I've got to play against Oakland," Daniels said. "Seriously, that's where I'm at."
NOTES: While the defense played well overall on Sunday, Capers pointed to limiting long runs as a point of emphasis this week. The Packers allowed runs of 50 and 45 yards to the Cowboys' Darren McFadden. ... McCarthy said associate head coach Tom Clements' role hasn't changed, other than McCarthy having taken back play-calling responsibility against Dallas.
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