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Busy offseason didn't slow New Orleans Saints All-Pro linebacker Demario Davis 

Davis sought ways to improve after standout season

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At some point during the offseason, Demario Davis slept.

There's no official record of it, but, of course, the New Orleans Saints' All-Pro linebacker had to renew and rejuvenate. Still, it's worth pointing out the obvious because Davis' offseason was so stuffed, he seemed like an indefatigable machine.

Combine his workouts that possibly would break a Spartan with his tireless social justice advocacy, the release of his book with seemingly five years' worth of national television appearances, the locker room spokesman role with keeping himself and his family safe during a global pandemic, and the mental gymnastics required to keep up with him rises to the level of knee-buckling.

"I just always try to use my platform responsibly," Davis said Tuesday, during a media availability. "I'm a huge believer in, 'To whom much is given, much is required.' So just understanding that a lot comes with a lot of eyes being on you, having a lot of resources, understanding where I came from, the opportunities I have to be able to give back and help those who don't have the same opportunities or the same access, it's kind of individually my responsibility to make sure that happens.

"I just think that's a mind-set that we, as human beings, should have. And so, it's a balancing act. Just like you have to balance your career with your family. With COVID-19 happening and us being forced to be indoors and kind of away from the world, and the world sitting still, a lot more opportunities presented themselves that probably wouldn't have presented themselves had we had a normal offseason. And so, I just tried to make the most of that.

"Now, getting back in, it's another balancing act. Football is the main thing, the platform gives me the opportunity. But I have to have the mind to make sure I'm keeping the main thing the main thing, but also not be so closed off that I'm not taking advantage of opportunities to help people."

Here's the main thing: Davis was as good as any NFL linebacker last season, with 111 tackles, 11 tackles for loss, four sacks, nine quarterback hits, an interception and four passes defensed. He has had seasons with better numbers in almost all of those categories, but last year was the first time he was named All-Pro (first team).

It also was the first time he was included in the NFL's top 100 players, a poll generated by current players and revealed on NFL Network.

"Last year, I wasn't on the list so this year to be on the list is certainly a blessing," Davis said. "So I'm not going to take that for granted in any regard. (But) the way I view myself is extremely high. I'm my toughest critic, but I'm also my biggest cheerleader. So in my mind, it's always more to accomplish.

"I feel like I should be higher up on the list, but that's just me, personally. But at the same time, I use it as motivation. I'll always be able to find some type of motivation to challenge myself and trigger myself to go to another level, and that's what I'll do with this.

"It's great to be on the list. I'm grateful. Anything that happens, I'm always going to give credit to the man that gave me the ability to do it, the Lord above. But other than that, I'm going to find ways to challenge myself and not get comfortable.

"It's like, (No.) 67 is too low. So I'm just going to use that as motivation to prove that you can't find a player like me inside the game. It's a constant ability to prove that, and I think me chasing proving that makes me better."

For Davis, chasing extraordinary has meant incorporating some extraordinary work.

"I did a lot more water workouts this year because it was a way that I could train my conditioning and train my body at the same time, because the water kind of recovers you at the same time that you're training," he said. "So I was able to train in the water for two-and-a-half, three hours, and not be so fatigued that I couldn't work out the next day.

"There were a lot of ways that we could train above the water and train underneath the water. Two forms of conditioning, so now my body is being conditioned and I'm expanding my lungs, as well. Being a player that plays 90 percent of the snaps, the longer that I can go at a higher percentage of my maximum ability, the better I'm going to be for my team. That's kind of how I took it.

"There were definitely areas (from last season) that I thought that I could (improve). On top of having a good year in coverage, I could even increase and go to another level. Also with my blitzing and angles. Just find a way to impact the game. Creating turnovers is an area that my coach challenged me this offseason, so I incorporated a lot of it.

"There are a lot of things I did differently because last year was a good year, but now when I watch the film and it was like, 'Dang, that player really wasn't that good to me.' So I'm excited to see what I can bring to the table this year."

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