Every NFL player faces adversity at some point in their career.
Last year Vontae Davis dipped his toe in troublesome water when he was suspended a game for violating a team rule, allegedly showing up to practice hungover.
This year Davis, a 2009 first-round pick who has started 36 games, finds himself on the outside looking in at the starting unit.
Davis plays with the first team in the nickel package, but it is clear his role on the team has been reduced, especially after episode one of HBO's Hard Knocks reality series details some maturity issues the coaching staff has with the former Illinois standout.
“You’ve got to come in and work,” Davis told the Sun-Sentinel. “It’s like training your mind. Repetition over and over again for your mind and body to get back into football shape.”
When asked if being embarrassed on Hard Knocks served as a wake-up call, Davis dismissed the program's storyline.
“That don’t matter to me. It’s a challenge every day in the NFL. You just got to do what you need to do, take care of your job to the best of your ability," Davis said. "Whether I’m the fourth or fifth (cornerback), it doesn’t matter to me. I’m still pushing myself.
“I’ve got to work. It’s up to me to prove and show them that I can do what I’ve been doing, putting the work in, and doing the little stuff to get better for the season."
But Davis admits he did enter 2012 with the goal of proving to the new coaching staff, and the world, that he's matured, and has gotten past some of the same issues that kept his older brother, Pro Bowl tight end Vernon Davis, from reaching his potential early in his career with the San Francisco 49ers.
"And I still am. That’s still the goal. Ain’t nothing change. It is okay that they might not see it yet," said Davis, who contributed 43 tackles, four interceptions ans one sack last season. "I’m still working at it. I’m working to get better. That’s motivation. That’s all. I’m so hard on myself. Coach tells me to be your best and that’s all I’m doing.
“Every day, do the right things over and over, and make it a habit," he continued. "Every day I wake up at 5 a.m. in the morning and go to work. I do it the same time to make it a habit so it is natural. I’m doing it now and its not even something I think about. If I keep doing it over and over eventually progress will be made.
"Hard work pays off," Davis said. "All you can do at this point is work hard.”