The Denver Broncos were busy in the 2015 offseason. Gary Kubiak rejoined the team and brought Wade Phillips with him. Shane Ray was added in the NFL Draft and Demaryius Thomas signed a big contract. All of the moves seemed to have worked out well, if not great. Owen Daniels’ arrival in Denver was met with tempered enthusiasm despite his 10 stellar seasons with Kubiak; quietly he has gone about his business as a safety valve, coach and teammate. Sunday his hard work finally paid off with a two touchdown game and a trip to his first Super Bowl.

“This is really what I wanted the whole time and a big reason why I came here is to have an opportunity to play in this game and to play in the one we are about to play in a couple of weeks,” Daniels said just moments after the AFC Championship win. “I’m kind of at a loss for words. This is exactly what I wanted and that doesn’t always happen. It’s been ten years, it’s a long time to wait and play in this game but it is well worth the wait.”

Daniels is one of six Broncos on the 53-man roster with 10 or more seasons in the NFL. He has worked extremely hard in those 10 years, with the Houston Texans for eight years, the Baltimore Ravens in 2014 and now the Broncos.

Sunday, in his first conference championship contest, he came up big. Peyton Manning found him after a double move on New England Patriots linebacker Jamie Collins in the middle of the end zone on the team’s opening drive for a quick 7-0 lead. Just over a minute into the second quarter Manning found him again on fade route over Collins in the South end zone to take a 14-6 lead.

“The coaching staff I think had a great game plan down there in the red zone,” Daniels said Sunday night. “They were playing two man down there so it was up to me to get open and Manning did a great job to get it to me.”

Daniels two touchdowns certainly put the Broncos in the driver seat for the rest of the game, holding the lead until the confetti rained down on him and Von Miller as they made snow angels in the accumulating downpour to the cheers of 77,067 fans on hand. Much has been made about Manning and DeMarcus Ware getting a final shot at the Super Bowl but Daniels is right there with them. Kubiak, who has coached him his whole career, had “no doubt” he would fit in nicely.

“As a coach, when you bounce places and guys’ names come up, sometimes you’ve got to be careful, but there are certain guys you have no doubt standing up for saying, ‘Put him on your team.’ He’s one of those guys,” Kubiak said Monday. “He went with me to Baltimore and played extremely well, played really big in the playoffs for us last year, and he comes here. He’s a pro, he works at it, it’s important to him and I knew he’d fit in. Proud of him.”

Daniels arrived to Denver March 3 as an unrestricted free agent and has been around for the offense’s evolution, helping the players adjust to Kubiak’s verbiage and scheme. He has embraced that role willingly and knows that it has helped the team along the way.

“[Kubiak] didn’t like directly order me to do that, but that’s kind of just the natural role that kind of happened. It kind of happened naturally just because I’ve been with his offense. From a player’s side, hearing from coaches is one thing, but little nuance things, little details – guys were asking me all type of stuff during OTAs and stuff like that. I more expected to be that guy and was happy to help out, obviously,” Daniels said Monday.

He is a two-time Pro Bowl selection (2008, ’12) and has again been a big contributor in 2015. He has hauled in five touchdowns this season, including two touchdowns in Weeks 3 and 4 in victories over the Detroit Lions and the Minnesota Vikings. He has caught 50 passes this season for 560 yards. As the Super Bowl approaches, a game he did not know he would ever play in, Daniels is ready for any role necessary to come away with one more win.

“At this point I honestly don’t care if I catch a ball in this next game. That hasn’t been a big thing for me all season. I just want to make the most of the opportunities that I get. I always want the ball to come my way, but if it doesn’t I understand. We have a lot of playmakers. There’s only one football,” Daniels said Monday. “A big reason that I’m still playing football right now is for this game and get a chance to get a ring.”

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