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Demario Davis’s resilience goes way beyond the gridiron

We should recognize how fortunate we are to have Demario on this team.

New Orleans Saints v Philadelphia Eagles Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images

New Orleans Saints linebacker Demario Davis joined Cam Jordan and Mark Ingram for their podcast “Truss Levelz” to tell the story behind the player.

Demario explains how life growing up in Mississippi wasn’t the place where things were easy. Being ranked last in education is a challenge itself. Add the challenge of being a minority, facing a deluge of stereotypes, Demario Davis was faced with obstacles many find to be too dejecting. Regardless, Demario embraced his upbringing in a small town full of broken dreams. The state of Mississippi molded Davis into a complete man on and off the field.

“It’s different man. There’s a few things you’re going to notice about the ‘sip’ man,” said Davis. First you’re going to notice our accent — you’re always going to pick that up. Two is they’re going to be country strong. But then, three is there’s going to be that chip on their shoulder way different. You know, when you’re coming out of the mud, ain’t nothing ever been handed to you.”

Perhaps the chip ended up being a bag around his shoulder. The high school standout wide receiver Demario Davis flourished until his senior year. After getting kicked out of school, a coach made him an offer to play defense. The coach at the time saw something in Davis. Although Davis hated defense initially, the game slowed down for him to attain a scholarship at Arkansas State. Not exactly the mecca of college football, but it gave him an opportunity to go out of state and prove himself.

“When I got to college — you know I got expelled from school when I was in high school for stealing, went to jail my freshman year in college. So I was on the end of the spectrum, you know what I’m saying? I felt like that when I was in jail that last time I thought ‘if I keep going down this route I’m going to end up dead or in jail for a long time.”

Eventually, Davis turned his life around and gave it to Christ. The chaplain (Chuck McCelroy) from Arkansas State mentored him and started to ask him tough questions. Everything begin to change. He became of the student of the game, watching not only films of the game, but clips of his opponents on a weekly basis. His play elevated him to be invited to the NFL Combine. Still, Davis was ranked approximately ninth for all linebackers going into the 2012 NFL Draft. Being picked in the third round left plenty of reason to keep the chip on his shoulder.

After a few years on proving himself even further — his undercover status became being one of the most sought after linebackers — to becoming a high valued unrestricted free agent in 2018.

If it wasn’t for Aaron Glenn, the defensive backs coach at the time, Davis may have ended up anywhere. Glenn made sure Davis got word of his recommendation to the Saints. “I had been looking at how much swagger y’all had,” Davis said. Knowing Drew Brees is gonna put up 40. That defense creating turnovers. I’m like ‘Man’ they got a lot of energy, I’m definitely trying to be a part of that.”

The rest is history. Davis is now one of the best linebackers in the league. Most importantly, he is proud to be called a spiritual leader in the locker room. A guy that many of the players seek out for advice. His action speaks louder than words with countless community efforts. Furthermore, his unwavering hope was displayed on a national scale, showing the struggle with caring for his daughter who had retinoblastoma with a Group E tumor. Cancer, the harsh words no one wants to hear. Surely, a parent never contemplates the thought of their own child having it.

The end result left his daughter with the harsh reality of losing an eye. The Davis family feels blessed to have their daughter with his wife shouldering a lot of the burden during the follow up visits.

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