TAMPA, Fla. - Escanaba native Jace Daniels was among the 22 players trimmed from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers roster, Saturday, as part of the NFL's mandate to get down to 53 players, which is the regular season limit. However on Sunday, he gained a new opportunity, signing on the organization's practice squad.
Daniels told Matt Wellens of the Marquette Mining Journal on Sunday, that he was blessed to continue his career in the NFL.
"I'm so happy for this opportunity," Daniels said by phone from Tampa, Fla. "I just want to continue to keep getting better every day.
"If somebody happens to get injured or whatnot, I can step up if need be. Otherwise, I have a whole year of training with these guys and next year I'll be ready to go for camp."
Daniels said he's a lot more confident playing center now than when he started. He said he expects to continue to get better as he trains and practices with the Bucs throughout the regular season.
"I thought I knew a lot about football until I got here," Daniels said. "Just after training camp with the Bucs, I've learned more football than I ever thought from an O-line standpoint to situational football. Now I know everything from a two-minute drill to reading defenses and whatnot."
NFL teams were allowed to sign up to eight players to their practice squads as of noon, Sunday. Practice squad players typically consist of rookies who were cut in training camp and borderline NFL-caliber players. Both rookies and veterans are eligible for the scout team, but players may not participate on the practice squad for more than three seasons.
As a member of the practice squad, Daniels will practice alongside regular roster players during the week but he will not be allowed to play in games. The minimum salary for practice squad players is also far less than regular roster players. They made $5,200 minimum per week in 2012, in comparision to the NFL's minimum rookie salary of $390,000 according the NFL Collective Bargaining Agreement.
Practice squad players are designated as free agents and can be signed to any team's 53-man roster at any time during the season.
Daniels, a 6-foot-4, 300 pound offensive tackle, was invited to Buccaneers camp in July as an undrafted rookie and signed to the 90-man preseason roster. Throughout the preseason he was listed on the depth chart as the team's No. 3 center. He played in all four preseason games and surivived the first round of cuts when rosters were trimmed to 75 players in August.
Daniels was a standout lineman at Northern Michigan University. He was named to the All-GLIAC First Team in 2012. In 2008, he was an All-U.P. selection on the Class A-B-C Team with the Escanaba Eskymos.