OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- Baltimore Ravens tight end Owen Daniels remembers receiving the sheet of paper from the Houston Texans informing him of his release. Recounting the situation Wednesday, Daniels said there was a check mark by "wasn't good enough" on why the Texans were releasing him.
"I have [the sheet] with me in the house," Daniels said. "I don't have it up in my locker. I can see it. I have a decent memory."
Daniels acknowledges that it's "going to be weird" when he plays in Houston for the first time since that divorce nine months ago.
The 32-year-old tight end left as the Texans' No. 2 all-time leading receiver with 385 catches and 4,617 yards. Daniels, who still lives in Houston, was one of the most popular players in franchise history as a result of his community work and two Pro Bowl seasons.
Leaving no doubt that his ties to the Texans still tug at his emotions, he didn't downplay the motivation of stepping on the same field where he starred for eight years.
"Obviously, when you work somewhere for so long and they say you're not good enough to play there anymore and you get a chance to play them that following season, you definitely want to prove to them that they made a mistake," Daniels said. "But I've been trying to do that all season with my play, and not just in this one game."
Daniels has exceeded expectations with the Ravens, filling the void left when tight end Dennis Pitta went down with a season-ending hip injury in Week 3. He is the Ravens' second-leading receiver with 45 catches and has scored four touchdowns. In last Sunday's 20-12 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars, Daniels delivered the two clutch catches -- a 29-yard reception followed by a 3-yard touchdown catch -- that helped the Ravens avoid the upset.
"I want to get him more involved because he is a good player," quarterback Joe Flacco said. "I think he makes us go when we get him involved."
The biggest concern about Daniels throughout his career has been durability. Last season, he missed the final 11 games because of a broken leg. This year, Daniels has only missed one game, and the Ravens have been keeping him fresh by giving him one day off from practice each week.
Ravens coach John Harbaugh said you can see the difference in Daniels when you compare the tape of the tight end from last year to this year.
"I'm just amazed at how well he's done as far as getting himself ready to play coming off the injury last year -- how fresh and young and how well he's running," Harbaugh said.
It's not lost on Daniels that he could possibly clinch a playoff berth against his former team. "A 'W.' That's the best thing that can happen," he said. But he made it clear that he still respects his original team.
"That organization gave me a chance to play in the NFL for the first time," Daniels said. "I can't be more thankful for Mr. [Bob] McNair and that organization for giving me that opportunity. They did what they had to do business-wise last year. I'm trying to be the best player I can be here. I have no ill will toward them at all."