Before landing with the New York Jets this offseason, linebacker Jarrad Davis said he considered leaving football behind during his final year in Detroit.
“I contemplated walking away,” Davis said, via Dennis Waszak Jr. of the Associated Press. “I really did, man. But at the end of the day, like, I wouldn’t have felt right doing something else, you know?”
Davis was being phased out during last season with the Lions. After starting every game he appeared in during his first three seasons in Detroit, Davis made just four starts in 14 games played for the Lions last year. Davis played on 655 defensive snaps in just 11 games played with the Lions in 2019. Last season, he appeared on just 330 defensive snaps in his 14 games with the team.
The situation with Davis snowballed. As he played less, he struggled more. It took a toll on Davis and made him question his desire to continue playing.
“One thing that I was doing, and this is on me, I was making the game everything,” Davis said. “I was making myself the game. And when I was doing that, it just didn’t feel right. This is such a competitive sport at this level and you have to put your all into it. But there has to be balance. I had a personal life, but it wasn’t as important. I didn’t really care. If my personal life got in the way of football, it couldn’t exist.
“Living like that, I burned myself out. I had to do some things, take care of myself personally, mentally, emotionally — get back right and revitalize.”
Davis began speaking with a psychologist after the season and began to find ways on how to change his approach to the game. It’s changed his outlook on football and made his excited to get back to camp in his first season with the Jets.
“I revalued things,” Davis said. “Football was the top of the top. Nothing could knock it down. Nothing could knock down the foundation that football was standing on. But I really came in and personally just cleared it, man, and just took it off the radar, like, took it off my list.
“And it’s just something I do now. It’s not who I am anymore.”