A super understated birthday to Tony McDaniel

Posted Jan 20, 2014

Monday is the 29th birthday of Tony McDaniel, the Seahawks’ defensive tackle of few words but ample actions.

Tony McDaniel is one of those players who prefer to let his actions speak for him.

And the 6-foot-7, 305-pound defensive tackle who signed with the Seahawks as an unrestricted free agent in April has been boisterous during the team’s run to Super Bowl XLVIII. Monday is McDaniel’s 29th birthday, so we asked fellow D-lineman and free-agent addition Michael Bennett what he would get McDaniel, if cost and circumstance were not issues.

“A Rolls Royce,” Bennett said.

A Rolls Royce? “He deserves it,” Bennett said. “He’s one of the most underrated players on the team.”

And perhaps in the league. Take McDaniel’s efforts in Sunday’s 23-17 victory over the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship game at CenturyLink Field – only the second playoff game of McDaniel’s eight-season NFL career. On the 49ers’ second series, his disruptive penetration allowed end Red Bryant to drop Frank Gore for a 1-yard loss on a play from midfield. On the first play of the second half, McDaniel stopped Gore for a tempo-setting 1-yard loss. Later in the quarter, McDaniel stopped Gore for no gain on a first-down play.

“He makes great plays,” Bennett said. “He’s just a great player. I’m just lucky to be here to play with him.”

McDaniel has been making under-the-radar plays like this all season, joining Bennett and end Cliff Avril, another free-agent addition, to form a difference-making trio of newcomers on a defense that ranked No. 1 in the NFL in average points, yards and passing yards allowed during the regular season, as well as turnovers and interceptions.

“It’s been crazy, man,” Bennett said. “Tony, Cliff, me, we’re just got lucky to be on this team with all these guys making all these plays. It’s fun.”

So we send very happy, but also understated, birthday wishes to Tony McDaniel.