HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Demario Davis spends his falls making crushing tackles for the NFL's Cleveland Browns. On Good Friday, Davis took a break from football to share his story of faith with Southeast Mississippi's Fellowship of Christian Athletes at USM's Payne Center.
"I was excited," Davis said. "Anytime I get the opportunity to speak about God and who He is and Christ and my relationship with Him, it's a tremendous blessing and honor for me. I've known about FCA and what they've done in different parts of the country but I've never seen to the magnitude what they're doing here. Really to just come here and be a part of it has really just blessed my soul."
Born in Collins, Davis played football at Brandon High School before earning a scholarship to play at Arkansas State University.
As a freshman at ASU, Davis was arrested for stealing groceries at a Walmart. He recalls looking to his mother the moment he was sentenced to three days in jail.
"And I looked at her and that's the first time in my life that she looked at me and it was a look like, 'There's nothing I can do son,'" said Davis to the FCA crowd. "And there was only about 20 feet between us but it felt like a gap that was so wide cause there's nothing I can do for you. You finna go back there and I can't help you."
"God brought me to Him and I want to go and bring others to Him. And the best way for me to do that is just share what happened in my life and speak from experience. And that's what allows me to testimony so openly."
Davis' relationship with God only strengthened his football career. He enters his fifth season in the NFL and second with the Browns. In 2017, Davis will team up with linebacker Jamie Collins, a former Golden Eagle and fellow Mississippi native.
"I'm hype man, I'm excited," Davis said. "The league is in trouble to allow two Mississippi guys at linebacker to get on the same team.
Davis said he's proud to represent Mississippi, his family and God as he continues his NFL career.
"You come up having a very good sense of family and tradition," Davis said. "[Mississippi]'s not as busy as a lot places so you learn to care about the people that are around you...You learn I think the truer qualities of life and understand what's really important when you grow up [in Mississippi]."