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“I’m trying work as hard as I can,” Daniels said. “I’m not in football shape, I can pretty much guarantee that, because I haven’t been running around with these guys and banging around. It’s different than running routes with a trainer, and running wind sprints, even just pushing a sled. It’s a lot different.”

Daniels caught 70 passes for 862 yards and two touchdowns in 2008, his best season. He and Andre Johnson formed the most prolific receiver-tight end pairing in the NFL that year, with 185 total receptions and 2,437 yards.

The All-Pro Johnson, who’s topped 1,500 receiving yards in the past two seasons, is as happy as anyone to see Daniels back.

“I’m very excited about it,” Johnson said. “He’s a big part of our offense. I was watching him out here the other day, working out. You can tell he’s got some good moves, cause he was getting after it really hard. It’ll be great to have him back out here.”

Daniels is confident that he can make all the moves on the field that he could two years ago.

“I don’t think I’ll be able to be the guy that I was if I’m going to think about that type of stuff, or worry about if it might happen again,” he said. “I’m not at any greater risk now than anybody else out here, to have that injury again. I’m just going to go with it.”

Now that he’s so close to returning, Daniels said he values the chance to play football as much as he ever has.

“I’ve always really appreciated it. I don’t think I’ve ever taken it for granted,” he said. “But if there’s even a little ounce of that, it’s definitely not there anymore.

“I’ve always loved playing football, and I cherish every moment of being out here, being with the guys and being in that type of an environment. Having that almost taken away from you for a season and a half would’ve been tough to deal with.”