JACKSONVILLE – In a 2018 offseason jaguars.com series featuring 11 former players talking about 11 current players, former Jaguars safety Donovin Darius talks with digital reporter and host Ashlyn Sullivan about the Jaguars' '17 success, the current state of the secondary and the team as it moves forward ….
Question: The Jaguars surprised many people with their successful 2017 season. What was it like for you to sit back and watch this team come full circle?
Answer: I was drafted to Jacksonville at the start of my career, so I was excited to watch a winning team so many years later. I was especially excited as a former defensive player to watch the Jaguars defense dominate the way they did. Mostly, I was excited for the fans. The Jaguars allowed the fans to finally reach the benefits of their continued support.
Q: Safety Barry Church has quickly become a leader on the Jaguars defense. Have you ever given him any advice?
A: I actually spoke with Barry a few weeks ago. I told him how proud I was of his leadership accomplishments with the defense. The safety is the quarterback of the defense; many people do not realize how important the position is to the overall success of the defense. I think one of the most impressive things about Barry is he has found a way to utilize the talent around him to benefit the team. He rallies the talent around him and has found a way for them to all play together instead of them playing for themselves.
Q: It is no question this defense is one of the most-talented in the league. Do you think it can be as dominant as last season?
A: This Jaguars defense did a tremendous job last season; I think they are only scratching the surface of what they can accomplish. Each week, I watched as they learned how to complement each other as a unit. They are undoubtedly the backbone of this team and are all about execution. I think they will continue to dominate in the 2018 season.
Q: What has life outside the NFL looked like for you?
A: After the NFL, I decided to use my platform in many ways and have taken advantage of my position as a former NFL player. I have found a passion for empowering others and am now a transition leadership coach for corporations and teams. My message to these corporations and teams is how to work towards a championship mindset and develop their peak performance. I am the founder and president of the Donovin Darius Foundation, a Jacksonville-based, nonprofit organization that hosts life camps and mentorship to people in the areas of personal leadership and life skills. I also recently wrote a book in 2017 entitled "Next Level Motivation – Principles for Living Life to the Fullest."
Q: What do you think the future has in store for the Jacksonville Jaguars?
A: Just like in the 1999 season, I think the Jaguars have just gotten to the doorsteps of what they can accomplish. Going forward, I think they need to take it one game and one practice at a time. Your effort and your execution is all up to you. Other than that, I think this team needs to control what they can control. The Jaguars have only scratched the surface of what they can accomplish, and I am very excited for this team going forward.