Editor's note: Tight end *Owen Daniels will be providing periodic diary entries for HoustonTexans.com to give fans insight into the life of a rookie draft pick.*
I'm going to start by saying that I love football. Let there be no doubt that having gone through OTAs, training camp, preseason and most of the regular season, I love doing what I do. Before I even was drafted and came down to Houston, I thought, 'Wow, it'd be great to play in the league.' I knew what I'd signed up to do this season because I've been playing football my whole life, but this is a little more than playing because it's a job, and I'll explain why I love it so much.
First of all, although we're obviously not having the best football season, we are accomplishing so much day-in and day-out. It's hard to see that when the W's don't show up after a game on Sundays, but when they do they're great.
A good example is this past weekend against the Raiders. The win over Oakland was an ugly one for sure, but it counts. I've never been a part of a game where we've had our quarterback throw for 34 yards, but end up with a negative number when the yards lost at sacks were included.
Also, I'd never witnessed Raider Nation before. Other guys on the team were saying that McAfee Coliseum was going to be crazy because that's the reputation of Raiders' fans. We were driving up to the stadium in our buses and all of a sudden we hear thumping all over the buses. Fans were throwing eggs at us! I know they threw them at all the buses because we were all talking about it afterward. It was crazy. I had heard that in the past fans threw batteries to the opposing sideline. Oakland's been struggling, so I don't think it's as crazy as it used to be. I like playing on the road in front of sell-out crowds, so for me that was a great experience. It was even better when their crowd got super quiet. That's when you know, as an opponent, that everything's going pretty well.
Of course, the trip back was much more enjoyable after the victory. Although I like to travel, I don't enjoy being on a plane for too long and on our way there the flight was way too long for me.
Our way back was about 45 minutes shorter because we had the jet stream with us. Plus, we had won, so we could just talk, have fun and do whatever during the flight. After a loss, it's definitely quieter because there's nothing really to be excited about and, at the same time, you don't want to be too loud and make it seem like you don't care at all about the game.
The second reason why I love my job is because it's more than just football. Yesterday we had this event where some players took some kids shopping at Academy Sports and Outdoors. The kids were given $100 to spend on themselves and to buy gifts for their families. Although they saw it as them shopping with us, we saw it the other way around. It was fun just because those kids are underprivileged and they got to pick out whatever they wanted. That's not something they do often at their foster homes or wherever they're at. I don't think the kids knew who half of us were, but just the thought of doing something with a professional athlete must have been cool. I know it would have been cool for me, so I hope it was as great experience for them as it was for us.
I grew up with a religious education. We were always doing something with the community. If we weren't doing reconciliation or confirmation, we would do stuff like drives for food pantries. That was the involvement I had growing up and I feel honored to be able to continue with the principle to reach out to others less fortunate. I hope I get the opportunity to do something bigger in the future to get more involved with the community.
Another reason why I love waking up in the morning and going to work is because I get to be a part of something bigger than myself. I am part of a team in which we are expected to excel at what we do. Playing hard is a given. Most people in the league play hard. For us, it's got to be something more. We are trying to accomplish something every time we step into this stadium. As a team right now we are focusing on one thing, and that is playing a complete game with consistency. There are always a couple of drives here and there where we're really inconsistent. We'll turn the ball over, and doing that will most likely lead you to a loss. Coach Kubiak always trusts us to play a full game, and right now he's just preaching consistency on all three phases of the game, not just on defense and offense. We have to be solid in every aspect of the game. And when we get there, there's going to be something there for us to work on to get better, and I love that challenge.
A lot of people have no idea how much work is put into games each Sunday, because there's a lot people don't see. It's a little rougher during training camp, going through those tough times during August when it's so hot and there's so much work to do. Once I can get past that, then the season's a lot of fun. If it were fun and easy, a lot more people would be able to play football. For some people looking in from the outside, we just toss the ball a little throughout the week and then we play on Sundays. But there's so much work that goes into it to get us ready to play, including meetings, practices, weight rooms workouts, etc.
](http://store.houstontexans.com/product/index.jsp?productId=1865446&cp=2237490&parentPage=family&clickid=mainnavgeartxt&parentPage=family)Since I was a little kid, my dream was to play in the NFL, and now that I'm here I only hope that I can have a long run in the league. It'll be amazing if I reach double-digit years. For the amount of people that come into the league, I don't think there's very many people who actually get to play long. Ideally, I would love to stay at tight end through my career, but I'm a team player, and if the situation dictated that I needed to change positions, then I'd do it. That is how much I love this game.
Anyways, I hope that's provided a little insight into why some of us love our jobs so much. Another plus is that I get to travel all around the country. This last weekend I got to see family that I hadn't seen in a while, including my grandparents that live in Southern California. That's always good to know that you have someone in the stands cheering for you, and my family has done a great job of supporting me throughout the season. Thanks guys!