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What Daniel Sorensen says his ‘Dirty Dan’ nickname means to him

In this Feb. 7, 2021 file photo, Kansas City Chiefs free safety Daniel Sorensen (49) warms up before an NFL football game against the Carolina Panthers in Kansas City, Mo., Sunday, Nov. 8, 2020. Sorensen will play in his second straight Super Bowl when the Chiefs face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Jeff Roberson, Associated Press

Daniel Sorensen admits he is not one who necessarily enjoys the spotlight. The seven-year NFL veteran is perfectly content with doing his job, helping his team win and letting the recognition fall elsewhere.

“As long as I am doing my job and being accountable to my teammates, that’s all I care about,” he said in the lead-up to Sunday’s Super Bowl LV matchup between the Kansas City Chiefs and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The former BYU safety, though, has a dedicated following in Kansas City, where he’s become an integral part of the Chiefs defense and earned the nickname Dirty Dan — a nickname that exemplifies the blue-collar mentality Sorensen brings to the field.

“The nickname can mean a lot of things to different people,” Sorensen said. “A lot of people may not ever understand what it means. What it means to me is that when I step on the field, I play with a lot of heart and passion, a lot of grit, a lot of toughness.

“That’s something I try to embody in the style of my preparation, my practice and the way that I play on Sundays.”

Sorensen, who entered the league as an undrafted free agent and has worked as a special teams ace throughout his career, has had a career year. In addition to starting 11 regular-season games — and both playoff games leading up to the Super Bowl — he had a career-best 89 tackles this year, while adding five pass deflections, three interceptions and a pair of forced fumbles.

Then, in the AFC divisional round, he made one of the best plays of this postseason, when he forced a fumble at the goal line against Cleveland just before halftime of Kansas City’s eventual 22-17 victory. It proved to be a critical play: The ball went out of bounds after rolling into the end zone, resulting in a touchback, and the Chiefs were able to add a field goal before halftime.

It was the kind of play that epitomizes Sorensen’s nickname.

“During my career, I’ve never really pushed or desired to be the person that gets a lot of attention for their play. I actually prefer to do my job and make my plays and do my role. I’m satisfied with that,” Sorensen said.