The weekend of June 20 was reserved for the men who raised their children, especially for one Delaware father who can now say he raised a future Los Angeles Rams inside linebacker.
Dan Reeder, better known as “Delaware Dan” for his fullback playing abilities at the University of Delaware, was part of a Father’s Day themed video released on June 19 by the L.A. Rams. Reeder, who starred for the Fighting Blue Hens from 1982-85 before suiting up for the Los Angeles Raiders and Pittsburgh Steelers, reflected on his own son’s path to the Rams’ linebacking unit.
Like his father, Reeder starred at Delaware but thrived on defense, where he collected First-Team All-CAA (Colonial Athletic Association) honors in 2017 and 2018. Reeder originally committed to Penn State as a prized four-star prospect by ESPN, but transferred to his dad’s alma mater in January 2016.
Reeder, however, still found his way into the Rams’ starting lineup in 2019 through his journey to Delaware and by heeding dad’s advice.
One advice? “Don’t just work hard, you work smart,” Dan Reeder said in the Father’s Day video below.
Troy Reeder Goes From Undrafted to Starter
Dan Reeder was drafted by the Raiders in the fifth round (selection No. 153) of the 1985 NFL Draft. Troy Reeder not only suited up for the college where his father thrived, but played linebacker alongside his younger brother Colby for the Fighting Blue Hens.
Troy Reeder had an even tougher road in comparison to his father’s NFL trek. Despite starring at Delaware, Reeder didn’t hear his name called in the 2019 draft and went undrafted. He eventually signed with the Rams as an undrafted free agent. But Reeder still followed his dad’s advice and aimed to prove you can go from Delaware to the league.
“My dad was an example of somebody who played at the University of Delaware and still got drafted and had a shot to play in the NFL,” Reeder said in the video.
Reeder managed to make the final cut in the Rams 2019 training camp. Then on September 8 in Charlotte, Reeder got to experience his first NFL game as a special teamer in the Rams’ 30-27 road win over the Carolina Panthers. With dad and the extended family in attendance, Reeder recorded his first of what would eventually be 58 total tackles in his rookie season.
But Reeder’s grind didn’t stop there. The Rams, decimated with injuries at LB the time, elevated him to starter on October 3 against the Seattle Seahawks. How did Reeder respond? By snatching a team-high 13 tackles including eight solo stops despite the 30-29 loss.
Since that Seahawk contest, Reeder has added seven more games of surpassing the double-digit tackle plateau through 27 contests. Among them is the 13 tackles he piled at Lambeau Field in the Rams’ 32-18 loss to the Packers in the 2021 NFC Divisional round.
‘Delaware Dan’ a Proud Rams Dad
Dan Reeder insists he was never a father who wanted nothing more but to see his son play in the NFL like he did. However, the life skills he learned playing the game he wanted to instill in Troy and Colby.
“I never really cared if he (Troy) followed in my footsteps,” Dan Reeder said. “I loved football because I just think everyday, I used the lessons football taught me and my dad taught me. He was never satisfied with myself or where I was. The bottom line: You can always be better. And there’s always someone better. But just because they’re better and more talented than you doesn’t mean that they’re going to work as hard as you. That is the one lesson in life I wanted them to learn from me.”
“Delaware Dan” has now gone from Fighting Blue Hens star, to fifth rounder all the way to a proud Rams dad.
“I’m really proud of him with how he’s conducting himself, proud of how he’s worked and prepared himself,” Dan Reeder said. “I think he’s playing for a great organization with a great coaching staff. I’m just really proud as a dad. I’m proud because he’s a better man than I am. Every game I tell him I’m just proud of you no matter what. I’m proud of how you got there and how you’re conducting yourself.
Troy’s last Father’s Day message in the video went like this: “Thank you for all the sacrifices you’ve made and giving me every opportunity in life. I wouldn’t be where I am today without you. I’m glad I’ve had you by my side every step of the way. I can never thank you enough.”