Photo by Aaron Babcock
Nebraska Football

Daniel Davie Tackles Injuries and Change Head-On

April 30, 2017
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Daniel Davie was all set to move to Miami. He had signed with the Dolphins to a reserve/futures contract in January and was in Lincoln, Nebraska, preparing for training camp. It was all going as planned.

That was until Davie suffered a foot injury. All of the plans that had been in motion came to a screeching halt. Miami waived Davie and the rehabilitation began.

“I kind of got hurt literally a week before I was supposed to move to Miami,” Davie said. “They were really supportive about it. I understand it’s a business so I wasn’t expecting them to honor my contract. The NFL is cutthroat. They’re paying for my rehab, so any kind of expense with my foot they’re taking care of it. They say they’ll work me out when I get healthy but, like I said, the NFL is cutthroat so I’m not really expecting anything.”

Davie’s goal now is to get healthy. He’s been rehabbing at Speedway Village, where he was working out and training before the injury. He feels confident he’ll get back to where he was pre-injury with the help of the Speedway Village staff.

“This is where I was working out before I was getting ready to move and I built a relationship with the guys here,” Davie said. “I trusted them to take care of my rehab. Right now it’s going good and I feel like I’m ahead of schedule.”

The cornerback has dealt with injuries before. As a senior at Nebraska, he was limited by both a groin injury and a hand injury. Through it all, he still played six games as a senior with five starts, totaling 18 tackles, 17 solo stops and five pass breakups. His junior year in 2014 was even more impressive, as he recorded 41 tackles (25 solo), two interceptions and five pass breakups.

Davie also faced a coaching change his senior season when Mike Riley replaced Bo Pelini. The Huskers went 6-7 that season, the worst record during Davie's years in Lincoln.

“When the coaching staff came in, we were getting settled in and getting to know guys so it wasn’t really like that camaraderie,” Davie said. “Everybody was sort of at odds at all times. I don’t really blame the coaching staff. I understand coaching changes and things happen, it was just different. You can obviously see how they’ve bounced back and have been recruiting so they’re doing a good job.

“I just sort of got the crap end of the stick being in my last year. That’s just how it works. It’s life.”

That’s the thing about Davie. He doesn’t get upset or place blame thinking about the adversity he has faced. Instead, he looks at it as a learning opportunity. That’s why when Davie went undrafted in the 2016 NFL draft, he bounced back. That didn’t make it any easier though.

Davie ended up signing an undrafted free agent deal with the Indianapolis Colts, but it didn’t last long. From there, he made another stop in Tampa Bay before being cut once again and finding himself back at square one.

“It’s totally not what I expected,” Davie said. “I’m sure that’s what it’s like for anybody, just getting to that level. [Indianapolis] ended up letting me go right before training camp and I got picked up off waivers by the Buccaneers hours after I was let go.”

That experience was a wild moment in Davie’s life, but he learned a lot about himself and the NFL.

“What happened is my mom lives in Chicago so I drove the hour and a half or two hours there from Indianapolis when I got let go,” Davie said. “I was home for maybe four hours and then the Bucs called. I flew down there that same day and practiced with them the next day.

“As a rookie who didn’t get drafted and you’re a free agent, my head was spinning. I spent the whole training camp with the Buccaneers and the preseason games. Got let go before week one and was just working out with teams the whole season trying to get back in. Miami called right before the playoffs started and I signed so I was with them. Until this, that’s how my rookie season went.”

Davie’s experience is one he’s open about with others. When his former teammates – like Joshua Kalu and Chris Jones – ask him about the NFL, he’s honest. He knows those two in particular have bright futures ahead, but he wants them to be realistic.

“When I’m up at the stadium, those guys that are upperclassmen that have the potential to go in the draft, they’re always asking me about rookie mini-camp and all that,” Davie said. “I’m always all the way real with them. It’s cutthroat. Don’t think just because you signed a contract that you made it. You have to keep working. I just try to tell them all of my experiences.”

The plan now for Davie is to get healthy as soon as possible. He’ll continue working with the staff at Speedway Village, hoping to have another contract by the end of the 2017 season. If it doesn’t work out? Davie, who is nothing but realistic, has a plan.

“I’d definitely coach,” Davie said. “I feel like I work really well with kids. I love athletics in general and the whole process of lifting and getting prepared to go and do your thing on whatever field you play on.”

Davie would be a good coach, too. Maybe it wasn’t always what he had planned, but that’s OK. If there’s one thing Davie has shown he can handle it’s change.

After all, he has adapted before and he’ll do so again.
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