Former Jaguars S, Donovin Darius Interview
Donovin Darius played college football at Syracuse University. He earned the title, Big East Defensive Player of the Year as his senior year. He entered the 1998 NFL Draft, and was selected in the 1st round. He played for the Jaguars for eight years from 1998 to 2006. He finished his career with 620 tackles, 2 sacks, 8 forced fumbles, and 14 interceptions. Check out our interview that was conducted after the 2010 NFL season was over.
Announcement : My name is Max Strauss with http://prointerviews.org/, http://facebook.com/ProInterviews/ and http://twitter.com/ProInterviews/. Please be a part of Pro Interviews. I’d like to welcome you to the interview with Donovin Darius. Darius attended Syracuse University receiving All Big East honors during his sophomore and junior year. During his senior year, he earned Big East Defensive Player of the Year. Donovin entered the NFL Draft in 1998, and was drafted 25th overall by the Jacksonville Jaguars. He played from the Jaguars from 1998 to 2006, and then played with the Raiders and Dolphins before retiring in 2007. He currently works for the NFL Players Association. Let’s get started with the interview! I hope you enjoy the collage also! There is a brief infomercial in the middle of the interview that will announce the upcoming contest! Stay Tuned!
Strauss : Do you have any way for fans to connect with you?
Darius : Yes I do. They can through my FaceBook which is a typical way. Also, through my website, which is http://www.mynextleveltraining.com/.
Strauss : What was your whole high school football experience like?
Darius : Well, freshman year, I was the third best on the team. Sophomore year, I had a chance to start and play Varsity and JV. We would play Varsity games on Saturdays or Fridays, and play the JV games on Mondays. That was really good because I had a chance to compete with the top guys. Then I actually also got to go out with JV and shine. Then my junior year, I moved back to the city I grew up in. Starting all over was a huge transition for me. And so, that was pretty good. Being a guy who other colleges found out about by looking at other players, meaning they would watch film, and then notice me, is just a testament to hard work, effort, and really the Grace of God allowing me to be in the right place in the right time. And to sum it up, the honor and privilege receive letters from a Division 1 college and to get a scholarship is definitely a blessing.
Strauss : What was the transition like from high school to Syracuse?
Darius : It was different. I was growing up in the inner-city and going to a big-time university where you’re on your own. There’s always a transition, but we had a great support staff at Syracuse to try to help with that transition. Understanding that this was the next phase of your life, and a lot of where you will end up in life is predicated on the decisions that are made during those four or five years. It was pretty powerful.
Strauss : Who was your best friend at Syracuse when you played?
Darius : My best friend was Roland Williams.
Strauss : Do you have a good memory you share with him?
Darius : Just growing together as young men. Not one in particular though. Just really talking about life and football.
Strauss : Do you have a favorite memory from any Syracuse football games or anything?
Darius : Yes, I remember the 1996 Gator Bowl in Jacksonville. We beat them forty-one to nothing. We had a great game against Clemson. Then, also during my senior year. One thing that happened was during my junior year, when I gained custody of my two brothers came up to live with me in college. That was pretty big for me. They were in high school, but they came up to live with me. Also, I made a position to come back my senior year, which is a testament to them, one that is graduating. The other is that God rewarded me in coming back and defensive All-American, Team-MVP, leading the country in interceptions, Big East Defensive Player of the Year, and all of those football accolades that it came with. I was humbled by it. I thank the Lord for it.
Strauss : What was it like to win Big East Defensive Player of the Year?
Darius : It was huge, because I was humbled. No matter what position I found myself in, college or the NFL, I still was in awe. I was still in awe. I would feel amazing, a kid from where I grew up, my background, and a way that God favored and blessed me with an opportunity to do that. To know that there are several guys from Miami, Virginia Tech, West Virginia, and they picked me to be Big East Defensive Player of the Year. I was like, “Common, pinch me!”
Strauss : At Syracuse, what was your relationship with Tebucky Jones? (Jones was the starting safety opposite Darius at Syracuse. He was a 1st round pick, drafted 22nd overall, while Darius was drafted 25th.)
Darius : We had a good relationship. We came in together. We grew together. He had a family, I didn’t at the time. We shared a similar background in terms of where we grew up, and in terms of the surrounding. But, we really grew closer that last year when he started playing Safety. We starting working together a lot, and for us to come out into the NFL Draft together. For him having been picked after only one year, I was proud of him. That one year of playing really blessed him to have that one year and be very successful at it, enough to make it to the NFL.
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Strauss : What was your draft day experience like?
Darius : My draft experience… It was very, very nice. It was a lot of stress and trust. Stress on the standpoint that you don’t really know where you are going to go. You are always thinking about where you can go. You know that there are thousands of guys that in your position all across the world, and what would cause a person to pick you. There is a lot of trust because you have to trust God that he was going to do what he said he was going to do, which was to take care of you, provide for you, bless you abundantly. And so, as a young christian, that was challenging. It was definitely rewarding when they called my name when I got drafted by the Jaguars.
Strauss : What was your first rookie experience like as a Jaguar?
Darius : Stepping out onto the field and understanding that this is a new chapter in your life. The fact that you actually made it, and not only that you made it, but the pressure that comes with staying there. The average career is three years. And so… My rookie year, getting a chance to start that year was incredible… and to be the starter on opening day in my position… and to win defensive rookie of the month in the month of November.
Strauss : Throughout your tenure with the Jaguars, do you have a favorite memory?
Darius : I think I would say two really. One in 1999, when we made it to the AFC Championship Game. That season was a very challenging season for us, but the way we went through it, only losing to one team the whole year, but it was three times to the Tennessee Titans. Then, also, in 2001, I fractured my hip in the first game of the season and missing six games, and then coming back, and then making first alternate to the Pro Bowl even after missing six games. I look back and I thank God for the people that he put in my life to help me get back and give me the highest level of play, in terms of what I was able to have when I came back. To be recognized as a possible Pro Bowl player, by the coaches and my peers. I will always remember that. And, then I guess the third would be getting franchised three years in a row, and it was the first time in league history.
Strauss : With the Jaguars, did you have a best friend on the team?
Darius : No, I really didn’t have a best friend. I was friends with everybody. I would say I was friends with everybody.
Strauss : What’s the funniest thing that happened in your pro football career?
Darius : The funniest thing that happened, I made it. No, I’m kidding. The funniest thing was really just the camaraderie with the guys. We always had something called, “The Rookie Show.” That was something every year before or in training camp, the rookies would put on a show. That was always funny.
Strauss : Who had the most impact on your career?
Darius : I would say Frank Gansz. He was head coach of the Kansas City Chiefs. He was our Special Teams coordinator in 2001 and 2002. He had a tremendous impact because he was also a former navy pilot. He always brought a lot of fire. He told a lot of stories. He always challenged us to be at an elite level and to reach the highest potential. He never allowed us to underachieve. He always expected greatness out of us. He really had a great impact on my career.
Strauss : Did you have a nickname?
Darius : Yes. Double D.
Strauss : What’s it like to work for the NFLPA?
Darius : It’s a great experience because the NFLPA has a lot of programs that helps players in life. It helps you understand that business side of football. When the game stops, it really lets you understand the business side.
Strauss : If you could describe yourself as any ice cream flavor, what would you be and why?
Darius : Cookies and Cream because my grandma’s white, mom is white also. My dad is black.
Strauss : Do you have a favorite quote?
Darius : Yes, I do. “There are two types of pain. There is the pain of loss, which you can recover. And then, there is the pain of regret which never goes away.” And so, don’t live life in regret.
Strauss : From someone who wants to play in the NFL, what is the best advice you can give them?
Darius : Focus on what you’re doing. Focus on the phases in front of them. Do everything you can to get the best at that phase and get ready to take the next step when it happens.
Strauss : Is there anything you want to tell fans that we have not talked about?
Darius : My life would not be where I’m at without Jesus. He is the savior of my life, and he is the reason why I live, and why I breathe. If anybody wants to be blessed, you have to trust God. You have to live according to his standards.
Strauss : Thank so much for your time Donovin.
Darius : Alright buddy. Thank you.
Announcement : Thank you for listening to the interview with Donovin Darius! I hope you enjoyed it. I hope you leave your comments below as well! Please check out the Facebook page at http://facebook.com/ProInterviews/, and follow me on twitter at http://twitter.com/ProInterviews/. Please subscribe on YouTube at http://youtube.com/ProInterviews/ and check out my website https://prointerviews.org/ for other interviews. Thanks again for listening! Stay tuned for more, and feel free to contact me!
->Here are the personal questions Donovin Darius answered.<-
Strauss : If you could meet anyone, who would it be and why?
Darius : If there was anybody I could meet that I have not met, I would say David. David from the Bible. He was a mighty man of God, and he was a warrior, and he was a worshipper.
Strauss : If playing football didn’t work out, what were your plans?
Darius : I love coaching. I would probably be coaching. I would work in athletes and work with the youth. I would maybe do personal development and athletics. I would coach in high school or college.
Strauss : Who was your childhood star?
Darius : My childhood star was Randall Cunningham.
Strauss : What is your favorite TV Show?
Darius : My favorite television growing up was Quantum Leap. Now, I like the History Channel.
Strauss : What is your favorite movie of all time?
Darius : Coming to America.
Strauss : What is your favorite type of pie?