ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – He has been a star running back, has had run-ins with the law, and even experienced homelessness. Twenty-eight-year-old Ronnie Daniels has survived and now he’s ready to thrive. A chance meeting at a gas station has led to Daniels getting back in the game of football. This time it’s professional football.
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Daniels is the latest roster addition to the Duke City Gladiators of the Indoor Football League. “It’s unreal, it’s unbelievable,” said Daniels. “I just want to make the most out of the opportunity. I feel like this organization and community is like a family. You know how hard I work, my work ethic. I just want to give it everything I got.” Daniels was homeless and hanging out at a gas station when Gladiator’s owner Gina Prieskorn Thomas pulled in to fill up. The two locked eyes and a conversation started because Prieskorn Thomas had a Texas Tech bumper sticker on her car.
Daniels played one season at Texas Tech in 2011 after a high school career at La Cueva High School. In his senior season, Daniels rushed for 3,024-yards, 42 touchdowns and broke a record with 7,068-career yards. As far as the meeting at the gas station goes, Prieskorn Thomas said it was divine intervention.
“I just felt like I had to talk to him,” said Prieskorn Thomas. Once she found out a little bit about Daniels’ background, she knew why. Daniels is hoping to get back into football shape and bring back some of the talent New Mexico fans became accustomed to when he was dominating the high school scene.
The Gladiators will host the Spokane Shock Saturday, but don’t look for Daniels to get any carries on the field. He will not dress out for the game. Gladiators Head Coach Robert Kent said he is going to ease Daniels back into football to let him get caught up. “We’re going to give him an opportunity to feel the game a little bit more because the game’s a little bit faster than it is outside,” said Kent. “Things happen a lot sooner than he’s normally used to it. So, it’s going to be a mental thing that he has to overcome first. The physical attributes are still there.”
Daniels started a career in mixed martial arts about three years ago. He got training at Jackson and Wink Academy and has one fight under his belt. It was a victory. “I always say you need multiple hustles to support the struggle and right now, I’m not going to say I’m struggling, but I’m just trying to outwork the struggle,” said Daniels.