Daniel Sorensen soars for Chiefs defense. Safety finds success from raw talent and hard work.

When a recent photo of Kansas City Chiefs safety Daniel Sorensen going airborne over a blocker to harass Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz went viral, the only thing missing was Sorensen’s Superman cape.

“I love it,” Chiefs All-Pro linebacker Justin Houston said.  “(He’s) putting it out there. That’s something that we ask of each other, everything that’s in your heart, we hope that you put it out there on the line every game, every snap, every play.

“When you do plays like that and you make plays like that, you’re putting it out there for the man beside you. That’s who we are as a team. We play for one another and plays like that shows that they really care for the man beside them.”

Teammates and coaches have praised Daniel Sorensen’s persistence in pursuing the football since his arrival in 2014 as an undrafted free agent.

Coach Andy Reid recognized the determination in Daniel Sorensen’s play from the outset.

“The earliest sign was that he was from BYU,” said Reid, a fellow Brigham Young alumnus.

Kidding aside, Reid sees Daniel Sorensen as a player who succeeds as much through hard work as through raw talent. “It was a good pickup by (former Chiefs general manager John) Dorsey. We have a few of those guys that are kind of worker bee guys, and he’s one of them. He practices so hard every day.”

At 6-2 and 208 pounds, Sorensen is not physically intimidating for an NFL player, but his competitive fire burns deep.

After tackling a Ravens punter short of a first down on a fake punt, Sorensen jumped up and yelled while waiving a fist in the air, bringing howls and cheers from his teammates, and the “Dirty Dan” nickname was born.

His intensity has helped him grow from the obscurity of being an undrafted free agent to recognition as one of the Chiefs best tacklers.

As a rookie, Daniel Sorensen bounced from the taxi squad to the waiver wire to the active roster, and suited up for just nine games with seven tackles in 2014.

In his second year he became a special teams regular with occasional duty as a “dime” linebacker.

After Husain Abdullah left the team after the 2015 season, Sorensen took over in the “dime” package and finished with 63 tackles, which was fifth on the team despite playing in just more than half of the defensive snaps.

“You have to make yourself valuable,” Sorensen said.  “When I was only playing special teams I was on the scout team, playing defense, playing against our offense, taking advantage of those reps. Still learning the defense, even though I wasn’t playing several years ago. When the opportunity presents itself, those moments of study and preparation play a big part in the transition.”

He recorded three forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries, three interceptions (one returned for touchdown) and a blocked field goal, ranking second only to Marcus Peters for takeaways, last year.

He arrived as a defensive fixture when he returned a tipped pass by Drew Brees for a game-changing touchdown to give the Chiefs a 14-7 lead in a Week 7 win against the New Orleans Saints, and he also sacked Brees the next series to force a punt.

“We ask him to do a lot of things and he does them very well,” Eric Berry said after that game.  “It is all about finding that rhythm and I think he is getting into that rhythm. I like to call him a ballplayer, man. Run or pass, it doesn’t matter.”

He was named special teams captain prior to the playoff game against the Steelers.

“He is a heck of a special teams player as well,” Berry said.  “I think that carries over to defensive play because you have to be intense in special teams play.  I feel like he brings that to our defense.”

In the off-season, Daniel Sorensen was rewarded with a four-year $16 million contract extension.

With the season-ending Achilles injury suffered by Berry in the season opener, Sorensen has stepped into a starting defensive role for the first time in his pro career.

“You’re not going to replace Eric Berry with another Eric Berry,” Reid said. “That’s not what happens, but we’ve obviously got some guys here between (Eric) Murray and Sorensen that we know can play and we feel very comfortable with.”

Sorensen may be the next man up, but who could replace Berry? “That’s something that we’re going to have to grow and learn as we go through this thing,” Sorensen said. “He’s irreplaceable.  Not one person is going to step in and fill those shoes. No one’s going to be Eric Berry. It’s going to kind of take all of us to fill in for what he was able to do.”

Through the first three games, Daniel Sorensen has adequately filled the strong safety’s All-Pro shoes. He is second on the team with 17 tackles, 15 of them solos.

To read more about the Chiefs, check out more of our articles at: http://kcsportspaper.com/category/pro-teams/chiefs/

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Article by Marc Bowman

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