Mike Daniels brings a number of qualities to the Cincinnati Bengals. But the team’s newest free agent signing will be counted on primarily do one thing: keep Geno Atkins rested.
Luckily, Daniels and Atkins had become friends long before they became teammates. It’s only right that as soon as one of them would become available to play with the other, it would happen.
In his introductory press conference with the Bengals, Daniels mentioned that Atkins reached out to him via text about joining the Bengals if he was interested.
Mike Daniels said he's been in Cincinnati for about a week. Said Geno Atkins texted him at the end of last season but doesn't remember if Cincinnati reached out. Atkins told Daniels, "There's room over here if you want to come."— Ben Baby (@Ben_Baby) August 12, 2020
Daniels came into the league in 2012, the same year Atkins took the NFL by storm with one of the greatest seasons from a defensive tackle in modern football. Before that season, when Daniels was still playing college ball at Iowa, Daniels explained how it was Baltimore Ravens All-Pro guard—and former Iowa Hawkeye—Marshal Yanda who told him about Atkins and urged him to watch his craft.
“My first couple of years I really studied his game and just the power he plays with,” Daniels said. “He’s definitely somebody who I’ve always admired his game and I got to know him as a person too. He’s even better to me than he is a player, so I’m really looking forward to sharing the locker room and meeting room and being on the defensive line with him.”
At their respective career peaks, Daniels and Atkins won in very similar ways as dominant 3-techniques. For them to be friends off the field, and on social media, is only natural.
As the latest signing in a historic free agent class for Cincinnati, Daniels wasn’t the first acquisition who publicly acknowledged being recruited by an incumbent starter for the team. Vonn Bell recently stated it was Sam Hubbard who helped bring him into the fold earlier this offseason. Perhaps Daniels’ dialogue with Atkins picked back up when the Bengals began looking for a defensive tackle to sign.
“Geno actually reached out to me and said, ‘I really look forward to us potentially playing next to each other,’” Daniels said.
The ways Daniels’ game resembles Atkins’ is uncanny; and now they’ll both be able to work off each other for the same defensive line.