Former Missouri quarterback Chase Daniel has been going through similar challenges to most people during the coronavirus pandemic.
But the virus shutdown is not the only change in his life recently.
The former Missouri quarterback is headed to the Detroit Lions after two years in Chicago. The Lions will be the sixth NFL franchise Daniel has played for during his 12-year career.
His family is also growing, as Daniel and his wife, Hillary, just had their second child a few months ago. Daniel joked it’s like going from zone defense to man-to-man now that they have two children instead of one.
Here are more highlights from a conversation the Tribune had with Daniel on April 30, slightly edited for clarity and length.
Q: Chase, you came to Columbia 15 years ago with no connection to Missouri. You established a scholarship at MU a few years ago and have been back plenty of times. Coming here as a guy from Texas, what led to your intense connection with Missouri over the years?
Daniel: "When I first came to Missouri from Texas, I was like, ‘Where am I? Mid-Missouri?’ And then it just grabs you, man. It just pulls me in, and listen, I mean, the relationships I have at Mizzou, they last a lifetime and I’ll always stay connected to Mizzou. It helps that my wife went to Mizzou and we met at Mizzou. So all that plays into it. Her family is from Lenexa, Kansas, so right outside of the Overland Park area. And so it's something that in my heart, I want to continue to give back as much as I can and it obviously helps that we were pretty good during my time there. And so for me to just want to stay involved in the community, I could see us one day settling in Kansas City, it's just such a great city, and it's such a great state. Coming back to Missouri, just seeing what Mizzou has been able to do, all that really plays into it."
Q: As a homeowner moving during the coronavirus pandemic, has this move from Chicago to Detroit been more challenging for you and your family than other moves in your career? (The Daniels also have a permanent residence near San Diego. Daniel was in Chicago at the time of this interview).
Daniel: "It’s incredibly challenging because we're on the West Coast. It's at least a four-, four-and-a-half-hour flight to Chicago. We have a house here (in Chicago). We've yet to set up movers, we've yet to buy a place in Detroit, we have yet to do anything. And it's April 30 right now. Normally, all that stuff would be done right when free agency hits. So you're looking in the middle of March, March 16 this year. We would have already been completely moved out of this house (in Chicago) into a Detroit-area suburb house and wiped clean. Thank goodness, last week we did sell our house. It's in the closing stages right now in Chicago during this epidemic ... just a blessing and praise Jesus for it because there's a lot of people that really aren't able to sell their house. So we bought in a good enough area that we felt pretty strongly about resale. ... Second of all, when you're flying, I got a mask on, I got a hat on, I got gloves on. There are 165 seats on the plane and there were like 25 people. So that's eerie in itself. I got a video of the San Diego airport and the Chicago airport and there's no one there. It quite honestly might be the safest place to be because we're in Chicago or we're out in San Diego and we're either walking the beaches or walking the streets and it's so packed. So I'm like, ‘Oh, there's 25 people on a massive plane? OK cool.’ And I won’t get any help from my wife or kids obviously because I'm not going to put them in danger."
Q: You’ve had limited interactions with him, but what are your thoughts on new Missouri head football coach Eliah Drinkwitz thus far?
Daniel: "He won me over just on the Chase Chat (Daniel’s video series). That dude can talk and it's great. I'm excited to see him. First of all, I didn't realize that I'm only like three years younger or two years younger than him, which makes me feel really old, which is crazy. Second of all, you can just feel his passion. In such a short time of him being hired, you can just feel his passion for the university, for the kids. He gets that it’s a student-athlete, right? Student first, athlete second. That's a huge deal. And it seems like there's a lot of people behind him. Personally, I was a big Barry Odom fan, still am. And things happened and the leadership moved on. And that's cool. I was on board with it. And so to actually get to know (Drinkwitz) a little bit, just interact with him and really talk some ball with him, Missouri fans should be really excited."
Q: With the success of the Chase Chats, are you trying to set up a broadcast career for when your playing days end?
Daniel: "There's a method to the madness here. I took some communication classes and broadcast classes. So when you come from the University of Missouri, you're expected to do great things, especially in broadcast. So listen, I hope to play at least another three to four years, maybe five if they'll have me. I feel like I'm in the best shape of my life, but that's definitely a path that I can see myself picking, for sure."