The veteran tight end was sidelined the final two weeks of training camp because of fatigued legs, but returned last week and was in action again Tuesday for a hot afternoon practice.
“I’m so excited to play some real football again,” Daniels told reporters in the locker room Tuesday. “I’ll be ready. I’ll be fresh and ready to help.”
Head Coach John Harbaugh has said over the last few weeks that Daniels’ absence wasn’t a serious injury concern, but that the Ravens wanted to give him time to rest and get ready for the regular season.
Daniels, 31, is coming back from a broken fibula that landed him on injured reserve after five games last season, but he expressed no lingering concerns about his legs.
“I had a little hamstring issue, but that’s all cleared up,” Daniels said. “I feel really good and I’m just trying to get my conditioning back a little bit.”
Daniels saw just 16 snaps in the first preseason game, and then spent the next three games watching from the sidelines. Missing preseason reps wasn’t as significant to Daniels because he’s a veteran player who has a strong understanding of the offense.
Daniels spent the last eight years playing in Offensive Coordinator Gary Kubiak’s system in Houston, and he’s been a resource to his teammates as the Ravens have implemented the new scheme.
“This is my ninth year in this offense, so I better have some sort of an idea what’s going on at this point,” Daniels said. “I don’t necessarily need a lot of physical reps just because I’ve been through it mentally and I’ve seen it physically umpteen times. But everyone else has done an awesome job catching up and knowing exactly what they’re doing.”
The Ravens signed Daniels to a one-year deal this offseason after he was released by the Texans. He’s been a highly productive player throughout his career and was a two-time Pro Bowler (2008, 2012) in Houston.
The Ravens expect Daniels to be an important offensive piece this year, along with tight end
“I’m just trying to do everything I can to help, whether it’s blocking in the run game or pass protection or moving the chains, catching the ball down the field, whatever it takes,” Daniels said. “I don’t know exactly how many reps I’m going to get in the game. I think it kind of depends on how much two tight end stuff we’re doing.
“I feel good physically. There’s five days until the game, so we’re just putting in our game plan and checking off everything along the way.”