FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. – Marlon Davidson's early NFL career has had its share of setbacks.
The former Auburn standout suffered from an ankle injury and COVID-19 during his first two seasons in the league, making it harder to realize vast potential. This will be a big year for Davidson to display his strength and versatility on the defensive front alongside Grady Jarrett and Anthony Rush, and he knows it.
That's why he pushed so hard to get ready for Year 3.
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During the offseason, Davidson focused a lot on shredding body weight, toning up and getting more explosive. Lower body strength was something that Davidson struggled with at a period in time, and didn't squat for as long as two years. He's now back squatting, feeling stronger and powerful in the lower end of his body. Getting back to physical shape is key for him in being able to compete at the highest-level.
"I went back to the dungeon," Davidson said laughing. "I went back to madhouse. Started back at my roots, you know what I mean, back in that hot gym. Long days, long mornings, heavy weight. That's all I was doing."
Since the injury, this is the first time Davidson doesn't feel anything physically wrong. He said it was nothing like last year or the year before.
"I remember there were some days I couldn't even wake up and just feel decent," Davidson said. "Every day I was walking around limping. I could be doing this and that and I was still trying my best to come out here and perform because that's my job. I can't put my past on my injuries. That's still on me because as long as I'm out there, I still need to be out there to play football and make plays."
The pressure to live up to his second-round draft pick status only fuels Davidson, adding motivation to keep working and block out the outside noise. He sees the headlines. He sees everything on social media. Adding an extra rep on the field, in the weight room, and extra minute in the film room is what keeps Davidson going.
"I just take it in and keep going man," Davidson said.
The Falcons defensive line will be in a great spot this year with Davidson back in the rotation. With everyone back healthy on the front line, this defense will look completely different from last year. Despite the setbacks Davidson might have faced in the past, that's behind him now. He's only looking forward for what's lies ahead.
"This year I'm just trying to get myself going, get my feet wet and just progress," Davidson said. "Keep continuing to get better and keep stacking days like I've been doing everyday out here. That's all I can do."
Marlon Davidson is back and doing all he can to get ready for a big season.
"Every year for me is a work year," Davidson said. "Doing what God brought me here to do and that's to play football. When I get my opportunity, my number called, I'm going to just go out there and have fun."