From the Ground Up - Demario Davis

Coming off of last year, we don’t want to let the previous season’s storyline to dictate this year’s. Naturally, we can’t ignore just how close we came to getting to the Super Bowl, but we can allow that to negatively or positively influence our future. Finding a way to get past the NFC Championship loss and focus on this year is our goal.

For the entirety of our preseason and training camp, we weren’t worried about it. We were focused on what we need to do in order to not go right back to where we were, but build from the ground up. Every team in the league is trying to get to the same spot, and it takes a lot of work to get there. But I think this year, as a team, we’re much further along than we were last year at this time.

Personally, I have put myself in the “top linebacker” conversation. It’s important for me and for my team that I compete as an elite linebacker. I need to focus on being consistent in blitzing the quarterback and creating run stops. I was voted captain again this year and selected MVP of the defense at the end of last season — these titles give me a greater responsibility and motivation to play well for my team. My team needs me to play well.

I’m excited about my role on the team this year. The camaraderie on the team is great, and the spiritual condition of the team is in a really good place as well. We have more and more players leaning in, wanting to know more about Christ and grow in their faith. Jumping into a Bible study of 1 John, I anticipate 15-20 guys regularly attending our weekly study. With our wives going through the same study material, we will have more cohesive and consistent growth on the team and in the home, as we are more able to dialogue about what we’re learning.

It’d be great to get to the Pro Bowl or be named All-Pro this season, but I think I’ve been gifted something even greater than this. I have gained the respect of my peers, teammates and coaches, having been given the titles of MVP and captain. Also, I’ve seen as God has been elevating me both in the community and nationally to serve Him. This work transcends the work I do on the field.

If I’m only recognized as an All-Pro or Pro Bowler, that would diminish the work God is doing in and through me in the other areas of my life. I know my team values me, and as for national recognition, while that would be really great, I see in me what my teammates and coaches see in me. And above all of that, I wouldn’t trade the work God has allowed me to do — helping others on my team, in my home and throughout my communities grow closer to God and do good works for Him.

— Demario Davis, New Orleans Saints linebacker

Demario Davis is a regular contributor to The Increase, providing monthly articles and opinions. Check out Demario’s Increase profile: http://theincrease.com/author/demario-davis/ 

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