ALBUQUERQUE, NM (KRQE) – He’s been a star running back, got into trouble with the law and even experienced homelessness. Ronnie Daniels, 28, survived and is now ready to thrive. A chance encounter at a gas station allowed Daniels to get back to football. This time it’s professional football.
Daniels is the latest addition to the Indoor Soccer League’s Duke City Gladiators roster. “It’s unreal, it’s amazing,” Daniels said. “I just want to make the most of the opportunity. I feel like this organization and this community are like family. You know how hard I work, my work ethic. I just wanna give her everything I got. Daniels was homeless and hanging out at a gas station when Gladiator owner Gina Prieskorn Thomas pulled up to refuel. The two eyes met and a conversation started because Prieskorn Thomas had a Texas Tech bumper sticker on his car.
Daniels played a season at Texas Tech in 2011 after a career at La Cueva High School. In his senior season, Daniels rushed for 3,024 yards, 42 touchdowns and broke a career record with 7,068 yards. Regarding the meeting at the gas station, Prieskorn Thomas said it was divine intervention.
“I just felt like I had to talk to him,” Prieskorn Thomas said. Once she found out a bit about Daniels’ background, she found out why. Daniels is hoping to get back into football shape and bring back some of the talent New Mexico fans got used to when he dominated the high school scene.
The Gladiators host the Spokane Shock on Saturday, but don’t look for Daniels to get runs on the field. He will not dress for the game. Gladiators head coach Robert Kent has said he will facilitate Daniels’ return to football to let him catch up. “We’re going to give him the opportunity to feel the game a bit more because the game is a bit faster than it is on the road,” said Kent. “Things are happening a lot sooner than he is used to. So it’s going to be a mental thing that he has to get over first. The physical attributes are still there.
Daniels started a career in mixed martial arts about three years ago. He trained at Jackson and Wink Academy and has a fight under his belt. It was a victory. “I always say you need a couple of fuss to get the fight going and right now I’m not going to say I’m wrestling, but just trying to get past the fight,” Daniels said.