By BRAD KEITH
STEPHENVILLE (June 22, 2017) — Cody Davis is entering his fifth year in the NFL, the final year of his contract with the Los Angeles Rams.
But while impressing the Rams, and any other teams who may be interested in acquiring the defensive back’s services, is certainly high on the priority list for Davis in 2017, football is still a distant third when it comes to what matters most to the Stephenville native and 2008 Stephenville High School graduate.
“Faith, family, football, in that order,” said Davis. “Hopefully I do my best to keep those in the right order, because that’s how it should be and I try to live that way every day to the best of my ability.”
He addressed those priorities head on during a busy Thursday in Stephenville, beginning with the Pride of Stephenville Art Event at the Bruner Auto Family GM Store, followed by lunch and a water balloon fight with pairings from Big Brothers Big Sisters of Erath County catered by Hard 8 BBQ in Stephenville City Park. Finally, he spent Thursday evening as the celebrity guest speaker at an exclusive Cross Timbers Fellowship of Christian Athletes sponsor appreciation dinner at The N at Hardway Ranch. Davis donates monthly to Cross Timbers FCA and Texas Tech FCA.
“Fellowship of Christian Athletes is something that has become such a big part of my life. I knew about FCA in high school and then became more involved in it in Lubbock,” said Davis of his time playing football at Texas Tech Univeristy, where he met Ashley, now his wife of four years. “Now that I’m in the NFL, I try to help FCA any way I can.”
The Pride of Stephenville Art Event is a display of 20 selections of artwork created by Stephenville High School students. The artwork will continue to be on display at the Bruner GM store until Friday, June 30, the final day of the silent auction benefitting Cross Timbers FCA.
Davis takes pride in the growth of FCA in Stephenville and the surrounding region under the leadership of area director Carrie Normand.
“It’s great anytime I can make it to a huddle, but even just seeing something posted online from afar is a big encouragement,” he said. “I’ve been in those huddles and those Bible studies, and I have personally experienced the growth in faith they can bring to your life day-to-day.”
He became familiar with the Big Brothers Big Sisters organization through his wife.
“Ashley was involved with them in Lubbock, and I got involved by doing fun stuff with her and her ‘little sister,’” he explained. “It’s so great to be a role model for someone else, especially to have a positive influence on a child, and showing them the right way to do things and hopefully the right way to lead your life.”
On the field, Davis made the first three starts of his career in the secondary in 2016 and is hoping to expand his defensive involvement with the Rams this fall.
“I’ve been ready for the opportunity for a while, so getting those chances didn’t really phase me as far as nerves. I was ready and I think I made the most of it,” he said. “I finally got an interception, and I probably should have had two, but that’s okay. I’m just trying to find my spot every year and be there and ready when I’m needed. Hopefully I’ll get even more defensive reps this year.”
The interception, his first in the NFL, was especially meaningful following the death of his mother-in-law.
“That was such an emotional time. We had just lost my mother-in-law,” he explained, taking a moment before continuing. “The interception, that was for her. That’s who I dedicated that, too.”
The pause, to be clear, was for Davis to clear a lump in his throat as he discussed the loss of a loved one. One thing about Davis is crystal clear – there is nothing fake about him. What he says he means, and when he says something is emotional, it’s true. He doesn’t just put on a face for public appearances, he takes who he is and shares it publicly in hopes of influencing others.
The loss of Ashley’s mother came right on the heels of a move from St. Louis to Los Angeles as the Rams returned to their old home city.
“We had just had our baby boy, then we moved across the country and it was hectic, a circus for sure,” said Davis. “It was hard leaving St. Louis because we felt really plugged in there with a great church and good friends. But we’re getting more plugged into L.A.. It’s a great city and we’ve found a church we are comfortable in. We won’t ever run out of things to do in L.A., that’s for sure.”
With that Davis flashes his easy smile, a sign of the outgoing character that Stephenville has come to love during his annual homecomings.
“This is always a special time of year for me, just getting back together with old contacts, seeing my old coaches and so many friends,” he said. “And then to get out there with those little kids, that’s what it’s really all about.”
This year, Kane, the year-and-a-half old son of Cody and Ashley, is just old enough to begin to enjoy the event himself.
“I pulled out the camp footballs the other night, and he was surrounded by about 20 of them. I think he was in heaven,” said a chuckling Davis. “He’s up and running around now, and it will be fun to see him interacting with everything going on at the camp.”
The camp is free to anyone entering grades 1-6, and Davis planned to host about 150 participants. Pre-registration closed Wednesday, but while only pre-registrants are guaranteed camp shirts and other items, registration submissions continue to pour in. Speaking at the FCA dinner, Davis said he has raised his projection to 180 participants. Joining Davis as instructors at the fundamentals camp are some of his old friends, many who are now coaches, as well as area coaches who can recall Davis from his junior high and high school days back here at the place he still calls home.
“This is Stephenville, this is home, nothing changes that,” he said. “I love having the opportunity to come home and hopefully do some positive things while I’m here. Anything I can do to use what the Lord has blessed me with to make a positive impact on the lives of others, I want to do it every chance I get.”