From the way he talks about New Orleans, one would think Demario Davis was born and raised here. Or at least within the borders of Louisiana.
Neither is the case. Davis moved here in 2018 when he joined the New Orleans Saints.
Apparently five years and counting have been more than enough for the linebacker to consider himself a local.
“It's like a good gumbo,” Davis said. “The seasoning sits in there. When you bite a piece of shrimp out of that gumbo, the seasoning is just like, 'Man, they marinated that gumbo.’ It sat, and it's great.
“You got to be from New Orleans to really know what I'm talking about. But that's what it means to be in this city and play for this team, it just becomes ingrained in you.”
The New York Jets drafted Davis out of Arkansas State in 2012, and he stayed there through 2015 before a season with the Cleveland Browns. The Browns then traded Davis back to the Jets in 2017.
After that, he became a free agent, and the Saints signed Davis to a three-year contract. The two parties have since agreed to two contract extensions that will keep Davis in New Orleans through 2024.
Davis turned 34 in January and is entering his 12th season. He’s the oldest player on the 90-man roster and one of just 10 players who are at least 30. Davis’ age alone begs for the retirement question to be asked, especially since he voluntarily participated in the Saints' organized team activities this week.
“I do think about it all the time,” he said. "But I'm learning to live in my individual life — I'm not there yet — and try not to process life from my head so much and try to let what's happening inside of my heart speak to me.
“I profess my faith in God. But it's a lot easier for me to try to figure out what he wants from me instead of me just waiting until he shows me what's next. All I know is he's showing me right now that this season is coming up and I need to be ready for it. That's where I'm trying to be as present and be right there. Then, he'll show me what's next.
"If I can be patient and wait on that, it'll be a lot better than me trying to figure it out myself.”
Since coming to New Orleans, Davis has been named to an All-Pro team four times. He earned a first-team honor in 2019 and second-team honors from 2020-22.
Davis received just his first Pro Bowl invitation last year. He had a career-high 6.5 sacks in addition to an interception, a fumble recovery, six pass deflections, 10 tackles for loss and 109 stops overall.
“I've always said if I wasn't playing at the level that I want to be playing at — the highest — then I would be ready to walk away from the game,” Davis said. “But when you're not on your own time and you're on God's time, he may have me here for different reasons.
"I want to be in this game as long as he has me here, happily doing exactly what he wants me to do, whether that's going out and being a star on the field or that's being a background guy and helping guys in the locker room. I'm cool with it. Or, I hope that my heart becomes cool with being cool with it.”