Today, New Orleans Saints linebacker Demario Davis joined fellow NFL superstars Mark Ingram and Cam Jordan for the latest episode of the “Truss Levelz” podcast to discuss his free agency before ultimately going to New Orleans, growing up in Mississippi and becoming a product of his environment, before turning it around and becoming an NFL star.
Episode highlights include:
- On being a product of his environment (5:31): “But off the field, I’m in the streets, I’m running with the girls, you know. The weekend– especially college– high school life, everything everybody was doing in college, I was doing that in high school. You know what I mean? I started 13, blazing up– I’m blazed up everyday, I’m drunk every other day, I’m chasing every other day. The cast that I was rolling– I’m just a victim of my environment. Everything that was in my environment, I did it to the max. 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 that end of the spectrum, you know what I’m saying? I felt like 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 I’m going to end up in jail for a long time. That’s how my life is. I could be doing everything right, but then when I mess up, it goes off the Richter scale.”
- On disparities growing up in Mississippi (12:43): “It’s different man. There’s a few things you’re going to notice about the ‘sip man. 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 is going to be on their shoulder way different. You know, when you’re coming out the mud, ain’t nothing ever been handed to you. Ain’t nobody handing you nothing out of this. The only way– Mississippi is like a trap to tell you the truth. Especially for black brothers, like, man you’ve seen the election, Mississippi won by a landslide. It’s hard, you know, like, making it out and being African American. A, because, the way they do the schools down there– Mississippi is already 50th in education. So imagine being 50th in education and then there being an education disparity between what environment you live in. You’re already set back and academics is going to affect intellect so being able to process and decision-making. And then also, unless you’re family is of affluence, you’re not really going to be travelling so all you know is the ‘sip so this is just the way of life, you know what I mean?”
- On reluctantly moving to defense (16:57): “I mean so, I played receiver my whole high school career. I didn’t go to defense until my senior year. My coach was like ‘Man I don’t think you’re going to get any scholarships.’ You know I had got kicked out of school…I kinda heard this behind the scenes they were thinking we ain’t going to let no thug be the face of our program. He ain’t finna do nothing here… [as an underclassman] I led the whole team in receiving yards and touchdowns my sophomore year to my junior year, they probably threw me 14, 15 passes the whole season…. Man I hated defense too. I hated defense with a passion. I didn’t even know how to tackle. I ain’t tackled before. I played DB [Defensive Back] when I played so I was just trying to get interceptions. I just wanted the ball.”
- On crying during “The Lion King“, always (19:34): “I’m an emotional dude, like I cry during certain movies but I ain’t just like the boo-hoo-ing type… [The] Lion King I cry every time. Oh, John Q will get you too. Some movies you gonna cry, you just are…Bro when Mufasa died, ‘Somebody, anybody, help.’”
- On his free-agency decision (32:48): “I’m gonna give you the inside scoop. So when I was coming out, right, I’m the number one rated free agent, pro-football focus. Number one coming out, so, phone hot. Now, the first time I hit free agency, it was crickets. Now, phone chirpy, you know what I mean? So, I already have in my mind where I’m trying to go. I’m trying to– go somewhere with a quarterback. I have to go somewhere with a quarterback. But the only thing – Tam [Davis] and I had X’ed New Orleans on our mind because it was too close to home. You playin’ close to home, and that phone gon’ ring off the hook. So we were just like, ‘New Orleans ain’t even an option.’ …Then AG called me – Aaron Glenn, our DB coach. He’s like, ‘I’m standing on the table for you down here. If I can get these folks to put you a real offer in, will you come?’ …I’m like ‘Man, you make sure they get the paper right, I’, on the way. Say no more.’ And I just started thinking about how good a team – I had been looking at how much swagger y’all had. Know Drew [Brees] and them gonna put up 40. That defense out there creating turnovers. I’m like ‘Man, they got a lot of energy. I’m definitely trying to be a part of that.’ Next thing I know, my agent called me. He was like, ‘It was Denver or New Orleans. Do you care which one you go to?’ And I was like… ‘Whichever one signs, then that’s what it’s supposed to be.’…Now I wanted New Orleans, but I wasn’t going to get in the way of God, like, ‘God, you got something else.’ …Boom! We on a flight, all I see is my phone blowing up – ‘Congratulations…’ I’m like ‘Man, where am I going?’ …And, man, I was so happy when it was New Orleans. It’s done went 10 times better than I would’ve ever imagined.”
- On social justice (47:26): “I just think when it comes to the social justice landscape it’s– A, it’s awareness, like becoming aware of what’s going on around you. If there’s injustice going on around you and you’re not noticing it, something may be wrong with you. So it may be your perception, it may be what you’re looking at. It could be, you know, become aware of what’s going on around you. And once you become aware of it, the next thing you do is to become educated on it. Don’t just think because you see it, you know what’s going on. Become educated – that’s how you put yourself in the shoes of other people and have empathy.”