One of the most frequent questions I get asked is, “Which Redskins players are your favorite to talk to?” While I can always find time to chat with Fred Smoot, Marcus Washington, Chris Samuels, Casey Rabach and Anthony Montgomery, the player who is probably at the top of the list is defensive end Phillip Daniels. The 13-year veteran out of Georgia is so down-to-Earth and easy to talk to that half the time I don’t even bother to turn the recorder on. After three plus years of interaction, it feels like to buddies chatting more than a formal interview.
Take for example last year when I discovered that Daniels is the kind of iPods on the Redskins. If one of the new guys buys one and isn’t sure what to put on it, they basically hand it over to Phil and he takes care of them. I asked him to estimate how many teammates he’s had to take care of and he couldn’t even guess. That’s just the kind of guy he is.
So today, on the first day of minicamp, I was talking with some of the Redskins media relation folks and asked if they had seen the YouTube videos of Daniels deadlifting 600 lbs and squating 633 lbs. from a powerlifting competition back in March. I couldn’t remember the exact amounts he had lifted, so I’m pretty sure I actually asked them, “Did either of you see the video of Phillip Daniels powerlifting a Buick?” Once practice ended, I asked Phil exactly how much he had lifted and he told me “633.” Seriously, that’s ridiculous. Most powerlifters are short and squatty. Daniels is listed at 6’4″ and 276 lbs. Most football players are not good powerlifters, but then again, most football players who powerlift aren’t Phillip Daniels.
After getting the official number from him, he was grabbed by ComcastSportsnet for an interview and I snagged some other players. But it just so happened he and I finished up at the same time. As we were headed into the building we started chatting and I asked him when he’s going to help me get big like him. He immediately offered to put together a training regime for me, but said right away, “You can’t be half steppin’.” Basically, his message was if he’s going to do this for me, then I’ve got to commit to it. I told him I’m on the wrong side of 30 and am not trying to play in the NFL, I just want to keep in good shape, and then asked if he’d ever heard of the 300 workout. He hadn’t, so I told him briefly about the training the actors from 300 went through to look ripped for the movie.
Then we got to talking about him powerlifting and that’s when he told me he knows he can beat the 633 lbs. he squatted. Apparently he squatted 650 lbs. earlier in the day, but agreed not to try and overdue it during the competition. He’s going back to Illinois, where his wife shot the videos I linked to earlier, at the end of June and he plans on doing at least 650 lbs. then. His thought process is that he did that in March and is in even better shape now, so he feels like 700 lbs. is a reasonable goal. Considering that’s three and a half of me, needless to say I’ll be impressed when he does it. In fact, I’m saying it now — I fully believe he will do it. Good things happen to good people, and he’s the type of guy to put in the work to reach a crazy goal like that.