Danny Etling may not be new to the Patriots, but the conversation surrounding the second-year player has been different this summer. Etling, who was drafted in the seventh round of the 2018 draft out of LSU as a quarterback, has been practicing with the wide receivers for most of training camp. Despite the change, Etling is putting the work in and has consistently been one of the last players on the field after practice.
Though he was a Patriot for all of 2018, let's get acquainted with Etling.
What was your first impression of Bill Belichick?
DE: It was a little intimidating, but then you realize he’s a lot funnier and more personable than you’d even think or he lets on. He’s very funny, very dry humor and quick-witted and a great coach.
What was your first impression of Tom Brady?
DE: Tom was just as down to earth as you could imagine. Extremely helpful, just a wonderful teammate is the first impression. You think, "That’s the kind of teammate I want to be."
What was your first football memory?
DE: My first football memory would have been, apart from flag football, it would have been when I got to try out for football because I bet my mom that if I won a tennis tournament, because she wouldn’t let me play football, that I would get to sign up for football the next day. I won the whole tennis tournament, signed up for football and never looked back.
Do you still play tennis?
DE: No, I only played until middle school.
Do you have any nicknames?
DE: Off of the old cartoon show, they used to call me “Danny Phantom,” especially in high school and growing up. That was one of them. I think that was the main one.
That’s your Instagram handle, right?
DE: Yeah, that’s because a high school friend kind of made it for me. The name just always stuck because of the cartoon.
You were an Eagle Scout, is that right?
DE: Yes, I am.
Can you explain a little bit about what it was like to reach that level? Not that many kids make it all the way through.
DE: It was something really cool, something no one can take away from you. My mom was heavily involved with it as well and helped push me to continue to keep pursuing it. As I started to gain more and more traction with it, I eventually got to the point where I was able to do a project at the end. I did it at the Bethany House in Terre Haute, Ind., for Catholic Charities. I kind of fixed that up and was able to do that project. It was really cool.
When did you achieve Eagle Scout status?
DE: Probably when I was 15 or 16, I want to say.
What was your best memory through that experience?
DE: Just spending time with my mom. It’s not something is usually known for Boy Scouts to have a mom there or a woman be the troop leader, but she was. It was really awesome to spend those times with her.
What was the most useful skill that you learned from being an Eagle Scout?
DE: Perseverance. To push through it. You have a lot of distractions, especially with sports and all that, but perseverance goes through every single part of life and every single aspect of sports.
You’ve been the last person on the field pretty much every day of training camp. Does that work ethic come from that?
DE: I’d say my work ethic comes from my parents, my dad and my mom. Seeing how hard they work and just pushing me to continue to strive to be the best I can be, trying to develop a lot of roles here and a lot of different talents and skills. It’s going to take a lot of extra work and it’s definitely something more so an influence from my parents. That’s the way I was raised.
What’s your favorite movie?
DE: It’s going to be between the “Avengers” series or “Remember the Titans.”
What is your favorite song or artist right now?
DE: It’s summer, so I’m thinking like Luke Combs mixed with maybe some J. Cole.
When was your first time on an airplane?
DE: I don’t even know if I remember. Maybe flying down on vacation to Florida with my parents.
What was your first job?
DE: Ball boy for Terre Haute North Vigo High School, and I ended up going to South Vigo High School.
Who would play you in the movie about your life?
DE: People at LSU would definitely say Ryan Gosling. I don’t know why, but they just said that.
If you weren’t playing football, what would you be doing?
DE: Shoot. I don’t even know. Maybe going to school still. Maybe coaching football. One of the two.
Do you have any hobbies outside of football?
DE: Lots. I love to read. I love to watch TV. I love to play basketball. Those are the main three.
What’s your favorite book?
DE: I used to love the "Ranger's Apprentice" series growing up as kid.
What advice would you give your 10-year-old self?
DE: Listen to your parents. They know best, and just continue to keep listening to them and they’re going to steer you the right way.