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Linebacker Demario Davis energizes New Orleans Saints in multiple roles

Gallery-Saints-Pregame-Hebert-Week-7-at-Bears-102019_54
Pregame photos as Saints players and staff prepare for their Week 7 matchup against the Chicago Bears on the road during the 2019 NFL season.

When it comes to layers, Shrek has nothing on New Orleans Saints linebacker Demario Davis.

He's the wearer of the "Man of God" headband – not anymore during games; the NFL saw to that – which has allowed him to turn a fine (the NFL overturned his) into a find (monies raised from headband sales are donated to a Jackson, Miss., hospital).

He's the stirrer of inspiration during pregame huddles, a duty he took over for Drew Brees when the quarterback initially was sidelined after thumb surgery, and more recently has worked in tandem with Brees, to hype his teammates.

Lately, he's the dispenser of energy after big plays.

"The celebration, the Kamehameha, is from Dragon Ball Z, one of favorite cartoons," said Davis, who unveiled the celebration a few games ago. "And so it's just, Goku, the main character, he draws energy from the universe and he sends that to his opponent.

"I can't really simulate drawing the energy in the Kamehameha, so that's why you see me drawing it from the stands and from the fans, or from my teammates, all the energy I need to ignite into the other team."

And, as always, he's the distributor of punishment defensively for the Saints on defense.

When Coach Sean Payton says that Davis doesn't allow "leaky yardage" when the linebacker makes a tackle, the thought of explaining it brings a smile to Davis' face.

"I guess what Coach is referring to about not allowing a guy to get the leaky yardage, you always want to stop a guy in his track," Davis said. "What our coaches always emphasize is, make sure the guy's head isn't still turned toward the end zone when you hit him. And so I'm always trying to make sure that the guy is turned toward the sideline or turned the other direction whenever I hit him."

It happens, and it happens often for Davis. The Saints' leading tackler this season (credited with 43 entering Sunday's game against Arizona in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome) has been the defense's steady backbone during the five-game winning streak (33 tackles, two quarterback hits, three passes defensed and a tackle for loss).

But there was ample evidence of it last season, too, when Davis led the Saints with 110 tackles and added five sacks, four passes defensed, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery.

That's the part of Davis that fans see most, but the enforcer never forgets his roots.

"I always try to identify myself with who I am as a person first, before I measure the athlete," Davis said. "I'm a child of God first, I'm a husband second, I'm a father third, and I'm going to always try to be a positive influence in society.

"And professionally, the thing I do is football, which I love and when I'm there, I'm going to try to play my role as best I can."

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