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John DeShazier: Linebacker Demario Davis joined Saints to chase greatness

Davis: 'I just want to come in and play my role as best I can'

Do not, for one second, doubt that Demario Davis doesn't have his priorities in order.

The six-year veteran, who was born in Collins, Miss., and who signed a three-year contract with the New Orleans Saints on Monday, knew what he was looking for as a free agent linebacker coming off the best year (135 tackles, five sacks and three passes defensed) of his career.

"No. 1, to be playing in my back yard," Davis said. "I'm from Mississippi, just a couple of hours away, to be back close to my family after being on the other side of the country (first four seasons with the Jets, then a year in Cleveland, then another year with the Jets).

"No. 2, having the chance to play for a championship-contending team. Last year, the Saints were right there. And I just want to be a part of that – looked like the culture was right, the team was right, everything was clicking. I just want to be a part of that culture.

"And then, third, Drew Brees. Point blank, period. He's one of the most decorated quarterbacks to ever play this game. Probably, three guys, at most, that are on his level in this league. To have a guy on that side of the ball who can pretty much dictate games by himself is rare. Guys like myself, we appreciate that. At this point in his legacy, it's about championships and I just want to come in and be one of those guys that can help him get those."

That's not just talk. Davis, in fact, doubled down on the message, because he believes he understands how important it is to have a franchise quarterback. And he believes he knows the direction in which the Saints are trending.

Take a look at the newest addition to the Saints roster, veteran linebacker Demario Davis.

"Championships. When you have a quarterback as great as Drew Brees – I mean, he has every other accolade," Davis said. "He's won a championship. At this point, it's about him stacking those championships.

"I think the job of anybody on this team, our role is to make sure we get across that finish line as a team while you have somebody that great at that position. That's a rare thing. It's a very rare thing, and it's important for everybody to understand that. So I just want to come in and play my role as best I can, as part of a greater picture. I just want to do my part."

That role would be to help upgrade a defense that made dramatic improvement from 2016 to '17, one that added play-makers and increased its play-making numbers, from sacks to interceptions to turnovers forced.

Davis said he relishes the role of quarterback disrupter, but also possesses the versatility to cover backs on passing downs.

"I've always been a guy who tries to be the same man on the field and off the field," he said. "To my teammates in the locker room, to my coaches, to the fans, I've always just tried to be the same guy.

"My work ethic, I think, speaks for itself. I've just always prided myself to be the first guy in and the last guy to leave. I'm chasing greatness, individually and collectively. I won't stop until I get there and this team teams seems like that's what it's chasing as well, so that's why I'm just happy to be a part of the atmosphere.

"This defense plays with a lot of energy. The front has been unbelievable, some very great athletes on the back end, guys that can fly around and make plays, ball is not going over the top of their heads, linebackers have played tremendously. It's a good group, and a lot of energy, a lot of swagger. I'm just ready to be a part of it and join in and do my part."

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