Pro Football Hall of Fame offensive guard Randall McDaniel used criticism of his lack of size as a motivational tool.
Randall McDaniel was too big to play Pop Warner Youth Football with kids his own age.
After he moved from tight end to offensive guard in college, pro scouts thought McDaniel was too small to make an impact at that position.
McDaniel did not need any more motivation after hearing that.
“I knew I was just as strong as all those guys,” McDaniel said. “I just didn’t have that size they wanted to see. Everybody assumed that if you’re undersized, you’re going to wear down.”
Weighing in around 270 pounds his rookie year with the Minnesota Vikings, McDaniel was lighter than the offensive linemen of era. A defensive player 30 pounds heavier often lined up across from him.
McDaniel came up with a mental strategy.
“I looked at it the opposite way,” McDaniel said. “I figured if the guys were bigger than me, that meant they’re going to wear down because I’m going to be in better shape with my quickness and strength.
“And I went back to my powerlifting days. I always beat the big guys in the powerlifting meet, and I thought, ‘What’s going to be different for myself?’ ”
McDaniel developed a sense of humor about his size. He said he used to put pennies in his shorts on preseason weigh-in days to help prevent a possible $100 fine for being underweight.
On the field, the biggest and baddest defensive linemen still had their hands full. Bruce Smith, a fellow member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2009, does not remember facing another offensive guard like McDaniel.
“Once he locked on to you, you weren’t going anywhere,” Smith said.