Explaining McDaniel's funky stance

Posted by ESPN.com's Kevin Seifert

Plenty has been written and said about former Minnesota guard Randall McDaniel in the months since he was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. You'll read nothing better than Mark Craig's piece in the Star Tribune, which also includes an extensive video interview. All of which is ironic considering McDaniel's career-long reticence to speak with the media.

During his 14-year career, McDaniel was named to 12 Pro Bowls and was selected a first-team All-Pro nine times. He blocked for six 1,000-yard rushers and five 3,000-yard passers.

But as McDaniel prepares for enshrinement this weekend, I wanted to use this space to pass along the explanation behind McDaniel's bizarre stance at the line of scrimmage.

McDaniel was and is an incredible athlete, but the way he stuck out his left leg and turned his ankle toward the ground almost looked klutzy.

In fact, as McDaniel recalled shortly after his election, the stance was the result of an injury and an unwitting assist from an opposing defensive lineman. To this day, McDaniel believes it played a critical role in his success.

In 1990, Minnesota lineman Todd Kalis rolled up on McDaniel's right leg and forced him to miss two games. He returned wearing a knee brace.

"So I go in with that brace on," McDaniel said, "and it's stiff. It wasn't comfortable, and the only way I could get down in a stance was to turn my other leg out. So I started doing that. During the game, a defensive lineman made a comment like, 'I have no clue what you're doing. I can't tell if you're pulling, passing [or] coming at me.' And I thought, 'That wasn't very smart to say.' And I kept the stance. I thought, 'If you can't read it, then that gives me an advantage right there.'

"That's where it all came from: One little brace, one little accident along the way."

Sometimes, that's all it takes.