Brandon native, Saints LB nominated for Walter Payton Man of the Year Award

Brandon native, Saints LB nominated for Walter Payton Man of the Year Award
New Orleans Saints' Demario Davis (56) in action during an NFL football game against the Philadelphia Eagles, Sunday, Dec. 13, 2020, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Rich Schultz) (Source: Rich Schultz)

BRANDON, Miss. (WLBT) - Brandon native and New Orleans Saints linebacker Demario Davis is a finalist for the NFL’s Walter Payton Man of the Year Award.

The award is given to one player each year for their work on and off the field. Previous winners include Drew Brees, Larry Fitzgerald and Peyton Manning, among many other Hall of Famers.

Davis is the nominee representing the Saints. He joined the team in 2018 and was named an AP first-team All-Pro in 2019.

“He almost immediately became a leader on our team and one of the most respected players in the locker room,” Saints General Manager Mickey Loomis said of Davis.

Off the field, he founded the Devoted Dreamers Foundation, which partners with schools to give children the tools to be successful spiritually, mentally and physically.

He’s also been a leader for social justice. He visited Atlanta, Washington, D.C., Buffalo, Minneapolis and Los Angeles this summer on a “listening tour” and in June, wrote an op-ed for Newsweek calling for police to be “fully reimagined.”

As we collaborate to imagine a dramatically different way of operating in the future and start thinking critically about and discussing issues of safety and race, we need to make sure to treat this like the generational and deep-seated problem that it is and act accordingly.
Demario Davis for Newsweek

Davis wears masks and bandanas with Man of God on them. Sales of these benefit the families of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery.

“Football is what I do; it’s not who I am,” Davis said. “At the end of the day, I see the problems that are going on in the world just like the next man, and I want to be the one who works to alleviate that burden. And hopefully it inspires someone else to do the same thing.”

He also hosts youth summer camps in Jackson for middle schoolers, and sponsors a 7x7 team in Central Mississippi through the Devoted Dreamers Foundation.

Beyond just talking about a problem or an issue, Demario takes the time to truly analyze a situation to understand the issues that may exist, empathize with others by seeking to understand their perspective, and then develops a coherent plan to take action using the resources around him to make an impactful change. He displays consistent efforts to be great and helps others to achieve greatness, whether preparing to face an opponent or motivating them on the field, Demario Davis leads the charge.
NFL on Walter Payton Man of the Year Award nominee Demario Davis

Fans can vote on Twitter by using #WPMOYChallenge followed by Demario Davis’ name. The player whose unique hashtag is used the most between Dec. 10 and Jan. 17 will receive a $25,000 contribution to their charity of choice, while the second and third place finishers will receive $10,000 and $5,000 donations.

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