INDIANAPOLIS – When Vontae Davis was selected in the 2009 NFL Draft, the cornerback out of Illinois could not even have a celebratory beverage to commemorate reaching his dream.
At the age of 20, Davis was admittedly wide-eyed about life in the NFL and what it took to be a professional at the highest of levels.
Just days before Davis was about to begin his fourth season with Miami Dolphins, the former first round pick was traded to Indianapolis.
A brief shock quickly turned into thoughts of a fresh beginning and after two seasons with the Colts, it’s difficult for Davis to put into words what the trade has meant for his career.
“I changed a lot of my ways of doing things off the field which has helped me become a better player on the field and I’ve seen a lot of growth as far as football,” Davis said following the 2013 season.
There’s no denying the rapport that Davis has built with his head coach Chuck Pagano.
Already in the 2014 free agent process, we’ve seen D’Qwell Jackson and Arthur Jones go out of their way to single out Pagano as a major reason for them choosing Indianapolis.
For Davis, the defensive backs connection to Pagano has helped him grow into one of the game’s top corners.
But their relationship doesn’t stop there.
“Playing under coach Pagano, and him actually teaching me, not just in football but educating me and teaching me more about life, it showed me how to discipline myself in football,” Davis says.
“Football is a lot like life and if your life is simple and disciplined off the field, it can be the same on the field.”
Now back in Indianapolis, Davis said on Tuesday that he wants to raise his family here and plans to get married next year.
Speculation ran rampant in the days leading up to the start of free agency about Davis’ future but in the end all the talk about the mutual interest between the two parties turned into four more years in Indianapolis.
“If there wasn’t a business side of football and it wasn’t about business, I would still choose to be back with the Colts,” Davis said on Tuesday.
“That just says a lot about how strong the organization is. My teammates are like brothers. When you go to the Colts, it’s something that you hold with you for the rest of your life.”
Having Davis back in the fold gives the Colts the prototypical corner they are striving for in Greg Manusky’s attacking defense.
Davis will turn 26 years old in May and he wants to turn last season’s Pro Bowl consideration into an actual trip to Hawaii.
“It would be a blessing and would show a lot of growth,” Davis says of receiving such an honor.
“Since I came into the league, I always had the potential to be a Pro Bowl type player so that’s the goal.”