There are few names more synonymous with Columbus Lions football than “Nighthawk” Damian Daniels and during halftime of Saturday’s matchup with the Sharks, the Lions will honor former defensive back by adding him to the Ring of Fame and retiring his jersey. 

Daniels played high school football locally at Shaw and then headed to West Georgia for his collegiate career. Following graduation in 2007, Daniels came back home and played for the Columbus Lions in their inaugural season. His impact was immediate, winning Defensive Player of the Year in four of his first five seasons with Columbus, including back-to-back DPOY awards in the Southern Indoor Football League (SIFL) in 2010 and 2011. 

During that first stint with the Lions, Daniels was one of the biggest factors in the Lions securing their first ever championship, winning the SIFL championship in 2010. Following the 2011 season, however, the SIFL disbanded and the Lions went in a different direction and did not bring back the 4-time DPOY, forcing Daniels to search for a new team for the first time in his career. 

Daniels left the Lions with the Franchise record for career interceptions with 76 and he headed north to join the Albany Panthers, where he would remain for two seasons. In that time he reeled in 20 more interceptions to bring his career total to 96 and secured his fifth Defensive Player of the Year award, this time in the Professional Indoor Football League (PIFL).

In his time away from Columbus, the Lions defense struggled, allowing 51 points per game in 2013 and missing the playoffs. Daniels and the Lions decided on a reunion and “Nighthawk” returned to Columbus for the 2014 season. 

Daniels was only a few interceptions away from breaking the all-time career record for the PIFL set by Kenny Mcintyre and Daniels did not waste any time, shattering the record in just two games back with the Lions. He eventually led the Lions to two more championships in 2015 with the PIFL and 2016 with the AIFL, his final year with the Lions. 

Daniels finished his career on top of the arena football world with another championship in 2016 and 116 career interceptions, shattering previous records, including 96 with the Lions. 

Now, five years after that final championship in 2016, the Lions will be honoring “Nighthawk” at halftime this Saturday with a celebration of his career as the Lions look to win their fourth championship this season, which would be their first in the NAL. 

Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. EST. The game can be watched live with CTV Beam, at https://www.nationalarenaleague.com/home or on the NAL’s official Youtube channel https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCSzSD8STXiEVPVtUDO9juhA

Tickets can be purchased here: https://www.ticketmaster.com/columbus-lions-columbus-georgia-06-19-2021/event/0E005AB5B4735F68.


The Columbus Lions are members of the National Arena League (NAL). Founded in 2007, the Columbus Lions are starting their 15th season in 2021. The Lions are a 3x league champion and 13 playoff appearances in their rich history. The Lions play their home games at Hughston Field in the Columbus Civic Center. Lions Season Ticket Memberships are on sale now call (706) 322-3336 or visit columbuslions.com. Follow the Lions on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/Lionsfootball/, twitter @columbuslions and instagram.com/Columbuslions.


The National Arena League was founded in 2016 and hosted its inaugural season in 2017 as the premier league in arena football. The National Arena League will kick off its fifth season in 2021. For more information regarding expansion opportunities or partnerships, contact Commissioner Chris Siegfried at chris@nationalarenaleague.com For more information about the NAL visit www.nationalarenaleague.com, facebook.com/nationalarenaleauge, twitter.com/NALfootball, Instagram.com/nationalarenaleague.