09/04/2020 4:39 PM
TRENTON - Former Philadelphia Soul and Temple University defensive lineman Sean Daniels has re-signed with the Jersey Flight. Daniels won two ArenaBowl Championships with the Soul during his time in the Arena Football League (AFL), receiving first team All-Arena honors in 2017.
“Having Sean with us here in Jersey will truly be a love and hate situation. We here in Flight land are excited and love having his dominating defensive mentality, and our staff is also excited that the opposing quarterbacks and offensive lineman will hate him,” Flight head coach Terrence Foster added. “Sean is a major addition to our defense, the locker room and the Jersey Flight community. We’re glad to be able to keep him close to home,” Foster said.
Daniels is excited to begin a new chapter of his career in Jersey and thinks the Flight have a chance to go far in the 2021 season.
“We’re a championship caliber team because we have championship experience,” Daniels said. “I don’t care if you play tic-tac-toe professionally, winning a championship is hard in anything you do. And we won two in Philly, back-to-back. It’s very hard to repeat something that’s already hard to do. We’ve also got guys on the team that have won championships elsewhere. With all that championship experience blending and meshing together, that’s a recipe for success.”
“The only way I don’t see us winning a championship is if we, the Jersey Flight, do something to hurt our chances. With everything on paper and our experience we are definitely going to run this league,” Daniels added.
Daniels played high school football at Highland Regional High School in Blackwood, New Jersey. He went on to play at Temple University and contributed on the Owls defense for three seasons. He finished his college career with eight sacks. Daniels began playing Indoor Football in 2015 with the Iowa Barnstormers, leading the team with six sacks and making 40 tackles. He returned to the area in 2016 when he signed with the Soul.
“In Philly we were very family oriented, it was so much fun going out there on kickoff and standing alongside the boards, having a conversation with a fan, and then thirty seconds later running down the field and knocking someone's head off. It’s a different game and it just hits you differently when you’re out there, especially when you’ve got a great crowd. I know Jersey is going to be a great crowd just like Philadelphia was because half of our fans in Philly were from Jersey,” Daniels said.
The Soul won an ArenaBowl Championship against the Arizona Rattlers during Daniels’ rookie season. Daniels moved up to a full-time starter at defensive end in 2017 and became an impact pass rusher, with eight-and-a-half sacks, and three forced fumbles and recoveries. Daniels was awarded first team All-Arena DE, and the Soul won back-to-back ArenaBowl titles.
During training camp in 2018 Daniels suffered a season ending leg injury. He rehabbed and was able to return to the gym faster than the doctors had expected. Daniels recovered and was able to fully participate in the 2019 season. Daniels started the year wearing a leg brace but was able to remove it midway through the season, only improving his range and ability to pressure the quarterback.
The Soul made it to ArenaBowl 32 and faced off against the Albany Empire at the Times Union Center. In front of a packed crowd in downtown Albany, the Empire defeated the Soul 45-27.
“In my experience with the Soul winning back-to-back championships, it helped me learn not only how to win, but it also taught me how to keep a level head when playing this game. You have to stay focused because at any point you can lose it. As you can see from the ArenaBowl last year, we fought but we fell short. Being a veteran and having that experience will carry over a lot with the Flight. There are a lot of veteran guys on the team, even some guys who were with me on the Soul. I think that we have a great chance to make a run for this championship,” Daniels said.
Daniels joined the Flight after the AFL closed local operations in late October 2019 and folded entirely the following month. He said that it was a connection with a former Soul teammate that brought him to Trenton.
“When the AFL folded everybody was trying to figure out their next move, and I was no different. It was looking like football was at that point where it was out of my hands. I was at work one day and I had some time to kill so I went on Facebook. I saw that Keith Newell signed with the Jersey Flight. I remembered hearing about the Flight before so I looked them up and saw that they were in the NAL now. Within ten minutes I texted Keith and asked for coach Foster’s phone number. I believe I had a contract in my email account two days later. With the opportunity to continue playing football and to do it in New Jersey, I said sign me up,” Daniels said.
“Keith is one of the lineman who helped get me to where I’m at right now in arena football. The All-Arena seasons, the performance I had in ArenaBowl 30, I credit that to the offensive lineman I practiced against and Keith was one of them. Every single day me and Keith would go at it and headbut each other in one-on-ones. If I’m trying to have a day off, he’s calling me out, and if he wants to take a day off, I’m calling him out. They say that iron sharpens iron, I can say wholeheartedly that Keith helped make me the arena football player that I am,” Daniels said.
Daniels is the younger brother of Cincinnati Bengals defensive tackle Mike Daniels. Mike is entering his first season with the Bengals after playing for the Detroit Lions in 2019. He was drafted by the Green Bay Packers in 2012 and spent the first seven seasons of his NFL career with Green Bay. He made the NFL Pro-Bowl in 2017.
“My motivation has shifted over the years as I’ve gotten older. When I first got into arena football my motivation was to get my tape, make some plays, and join my brother in the NFL. When I had a daughter my motivation shifted. Now my motivation is to go out there and let her see her dad doing something that he loves. To show her dad displaying a huge example of the things he preaches in the house like, working hard, being tough and strong. Not to mention, I think it’s absolutely hilarious that I can go out there and fold someone and my daughters in the crowd cheering with my girlfriend like, yea, that’s my dad. My family is a big part of my motivation.”
ABOUT THE FLIGHT
The Jersey Flight are a professional Arena Football team based in Trenton, New Jersey. The Flight are a member of the National Arena League (NAL). Home games are played at Cure Insurance Arena in Trenton. The team is owned by New Flight Enterprises, LLC. Follow the team @JerseyFlight on Instagram & Facebook, and @JerseyFlightFB on Twitter.