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.