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'We want to be walking billboards for Christ': Demario Davis honored for leadership ahead of Super Bowl

'We want to be walking billboards for Christ': Demario Davis honored for leadership ahead of Super Bowl

Tamela Davis and her husband, New Orleans Saints linebacker Demario Davis, and their children. Demario will receive the Bart Starr Award at the Super Bowl Breakfast on Feb. 6, 2021. | Courtesy of Tamela Davis

When it comes to their private and personal lives, Saints’ Linebacker Demario Davis and his wife, Tamela, have one mission. 

“Our primary mission has always been to be a walking billboard for Christ, so that others may be able to see and encounter Him through us and our experiences,” Tamela Davis told The Christian Post. 

“No matter where we are, no matter who we're speaking to, we can't compromise who we are. We know Who we belong to. We want to make sure that we're always being a good representation of who Christ is and that we're able to invest and share all of our life experience in a way that reflects Him.”

According to his wife, Demario, who's in his ninth season with the NFL, strives to demonstrate biblical manhood both on and off the field. 

“Demario is all about the importance of men stepping up and leading in their homes and in their communities, and in their work environments,” she said. “He’s so intentional about spending time in the Word and faithful in how he spends time with God. He's so reliant on God in every facet of life. He daily goes before the throne, asking God to reveal to him his flaws and strengthen him for the sake of the Gospel.”

Part of the couple’s commitment to sharing the Gospel is highlighting the fact that living a Christian life doesn’t guarantee freedom from pain. 

“We want to be honest about what it means to follow Jesus,” Tamela said. “It doesn’t mean it’s going to be roses all the time.”

The couple knows firsthand the struggles and uncertainty that life brings. 

Last year, Demario and Tamela took their youngest of four children, daughter Carly-Faith, to the hospital in their hometown of Nashville due to a slight abnormality in her left eye. 

What followed was every parent’s worst nightmare: “They told us it was cancer,” Tamela said.

Carly-Faith was diagnosed with retinoblastoma in her left eye, a rare form of eye cancer that had progressed to its highest stage. Already blind in that eye, Carly-Faith required immediate surgery to remove her eye.

“People see the story, but we saw God,” she emphasized. “He provided us so much peace and comfort. In the removal of her eye, we saw so many other small miracles right before our eyes. We were able to see God's hand in all of it.”

This past November, Carly-Faith was declared cancer-free — a moment Tamela said had God “written all over it.”

“This was nothing we would have chosen for ourselves, but we’ve been able to minister to so many others through this story,” She said. “God is just so detailed and unique in how He elevates each and every one of us for our individual mission fields.”

Demario has repeatedly stressed that faith will always be the most important part of his leadership — a concept he highlights in his book, The Unsuccessful Champion: Finding True Victory in the Midst of Adversity.

During the 2019 season, he made headlines for wearing a headband that read “Man of God” during a game. Though the athlete was initially fined $7,000 by the NFL, the fines were later dropped — and his faith was thrust in the spotlight. Today, the couple sells "Man of God" and "Women of God" headbands for a good cause, donating proceeds back to the community. 

“Demario and I prayed about it and realized we could sell these headbands and donate the money to a charitable cause,” Tamela said. “That way, people know that we're boldly displaying the Gospel, but we're being above reproach at the same time. We're supposed to submit to authority, so it’s always going to God and asking Him to lead you in a way that is not rebelling, but also not backing down from what you so firmly believe in.”

On Saturday, Demario will receive the Bart Starr Award at the Super Bowl Breakfast, given annually to a player who best exemplifies outstanding character and leadership in the home, on the field, and in the community. The Bart Starr Award is the only award other than the Pro Bowl voted on by all the players. 

“We’re just super honored and delighted he was selected for this award by his peers,” Tamela told CP. “I’m so excited to see him receive this award at the Super Bowl breakfast this weekend. It’s just a unique opportunity that other people are able to encounter and see some of the things in him that I get to see full time.”

The couple's dedication to their faith is evident through their work in their local community. In 2013, they founded the Devoted Dreamers Foundation, an organization that seeks to equip the next generation of leaders with the tools to be successful spiritually, mentally, and physically.

“We spend so much time with these kids, making sure that they're on the right path with their education, their faith, and their mental health,” Tamela said. “We really try to show the love of Christ to them, helping them understand there is someone beside them who is so much bigger than all the different things that they're being faced with at the time.”

A homeschooling mother and ministry leader in her own right, Tamela seeks to put Christ first in her family’s home, from singing praise songs during the day — “even my youngest will raise her hands in praise,” Tamela shared — to reading Bible stories with the children. 

“It’s so important to find ways to engage them with the Gospel,” she said. “When you create those environments that are Christ driven, and you're constantly looking for small ways to engage them with the Gospel, it's going to transform them and become part of their everyday lives.”

Still, she stressed that parents need to give themselves “grace” and understand it’s not always possible to “get it exactly right.”

“In everything we do, Demario and I try to exemplify Christ to our children, but it’s impossible to get everything right all the time, especially when your kids are tiny,” she said. “Thankfully, God gives us grace for every season. 

The Super Bowl Breakfast will take place on Feb. 6, and Tony Dungy will present the award alongside Bart Starr’s wife, Cherry, and son, Bart Jr.

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