Injury knocks B.J. Daniels out of debut in new football league
By St. Clair Murraine
Outlook staff writer
An opportunity to finally become starting quarterback for a professional football team has eluded B.J. Daniels.
Daniels, a former standout at Lincoln High School who has made several stops in the NFL that include two Super Bowl teams, sustained an left arm injury in a scrimmage that ended his season with the Salt Lake Stallions of the Alliance of American Football league. He underwent successful surgery last Friday, his father, Bruce Daniels, said.
B.J.’s father and mother were in San Antonio for the surgery on his triceps.
The injury occurred during the Stallions’ final scrimmage against the Memphis Express when Daniels was hit by a defensive lineman, causing the injury to his left arm.
Daniels, who wasn’t available for comment, wasn’t on the Stallions’ final 52-man roster announced after the scrimmage in San Antonio. However, his father said the team intends to honor his three-year contract.
“As it stands right now, they are keeping him on the team,” Daniels said. “He is not on the 52-man roster but he is still on the team. I talked personally to the owner today and the owner told me and my wife that they want to keep B.J. on the roster in the meantime. If for some reason he does heal up they want him. If not; they want him next year.”
Injuries have plagued Daniels going back to when he played college ball at the University of South Florida. His remarkable career as quarterback of the Bulls ended with an injury in 2012.
One of his many shots in the NFL ended with a groin injury when he was with the Falcons in 2017.
Daniels was expected to win the starting quarterback job with the Stallions. Coach Dennis Erickson gave that position to Josh Woodrum when the team announced its roster. Austin Allen and Matt Linehan were also listed as quarterbacks.
The Stallions open their debut season in the fledgling AAF league Sunday against the Arizona Hotshots.
Daniels was optimistic before the injury that he’d be the one under center for the opening game.
“It’s another opportunity for me to get back on the national stage at the quarterback position; use my gifts and talent to get back to where I want to be,” Daniels said. “I feel like I have to continue to prove myself at the quarterback position.”
Coaches and general managers around the league considered Daniels one of the biggest assets to help the AAF advance.
During a quarterback tryout last year, San Antonio Commanders general manager Darryl Johnson said he was impressed with Daniels’ talent and experience.
“He has played in the NFL and he has had his opportunities, but is he a quarterback (or) is his a wide receiver or running back,” Johnson said. “What is he? B.J. is an interesting character all the way around. He is a very good athlete so he could actually line up and play receiver. He could play on special teams.”
Charlie Ebersol, co-founder of the league, said players like Daniels and coaches like Erickson and Michael Vick of the Atlanta Legends, are essential to the league.
“My goal was just to put great people in,” Ebersol said recently on the Rich Eisen Show. “Put the best people on the field and let them do what they do.”
The eight teams in the league will each play a 10-game schedule. CBS will broadcast games each week through the season. The two best teams from East and West divisions will meet in a playoff to determine who gets to the championship game in April.
While Daniels won’t be playing this season, his father said his career is far from being over.
“B.J. has a plan and then God has a plan,” Bruce Daniels said. “B.J.’s plan was to play quarterback professionally from the time he was in middle school. He doesn’t feel that he has had an opportunity to do that with all these different teams.
“Unfortunately those injuries have kept him from getting that opportunity.”