KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Mike DeVito showcased his dancing ability in 2015, dabbing in Week 10 and he “ran off on da plug twice” in the season finale after recording sacks.
The defensive end’s celebrations impressed teammates in the Chiefs’ locker room.
“It’s funny because he’s the last guy you would expect to pull off those dance moves,” offensive lineman Jarrod Pughsley said in a telephone interview. “I’m going to have to get with him and learn a couple myself because I think he dances better than I do.”
DeVito’s dancing came in good fun when considering he finished the 2015 regular season with a career-high three sacks over a nine-year career.
“I had three sacks, so if I get the statistics right I should have at least six next year,” DeVito said with a laugh in a telephone interview. “I’m going to need a whole plethora of moves that’s going to have to be added in my training. I’m going to have to take some of those online hip-hop dance courses, something like that.”
The 31-year-old DeVito is kidding, of course, and he isn’t likely to devote too much time pondering the latest dance fads.
Instead, DeVito will spend the offseason with his wife, Jessi, and 2-year-old son at their home near Bangor, Maine, to focus on the future after playing the past season in the final year of his contract.
“I’m going to try and unwind and not think about it, but obviously it’s there and we’re going to have to go through free agency again,” DeVito said. “I was blessed in 2013 the way it worked out, I was signed within two days of free agency starting, but I know that’s not always the case. A lot of players don’t always have that opportunity.”
The 6-3, 305-pound DeVito, who signed a three-year deal with the Chiefs in 2013 after six seasons with the New York Jets, restructured his contact last offseason to stay in Kansas City.
He appeared in 13 games with five starts, totaling 19 tackles (13 solo) and three sacks as part of the defensive line rotation a year removed from a ruptured Achilles tendon suffered in the 2014 season opener.
While he rebounded from the season-ending injury to play on 293 defensive snaps and 40 snaps on special teams, DeVito dealt with two concussions and a shoulder injury that caused him to miss three games.
But there is plenty of fight left in him, and Pughsley said that DeVito was one of the toughest defensive linemen to block during practices.
“It’s scary,” Pughsley said of lining up against DeVito. “He is such a humble, nice guy. It’s crazy to see him really go on the field and go hard.”
DeVito is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent on March 9, but he came away with plenty of lessons learned from the past season.
He overcame adversity after spending a majority of 2014 on injured reserve to be a part of the Chiefs’ historic regular-season run to the divisional round of the playoffs.
“Professionally, I think I really learned how to be resilient,” DeVito said. “I learned it from the guys around me and the coaches and the organization. Any time you go 1-5 and come back and win 11 straight, man, I’ve never seen anything like that done before.”
From a personal standpoint, DeVito stressed he has never been in a locker room like the one he experienced with the Chiefs.
The realization that Kansas City had something special hit him during the 2015 kickoff luncheon when he looked around to his teammates before taking the stage to offer a prayer.
“The one thing that just struck me was the caliber of player we have on this team was so high, and at the same time, the people on the team were the greatest quality of people I’ve ever been around,” DeVito said. “Just the relationships, the guys in the d-line room, the guys on defense and the team in general. Hats off to (general manager) John Dorsey for putting the team together because it’s just really a special group of guys.”
Still, DeVito, who turns 32 in June, knows there is life after football.
“I’ve been blessed going on a decade of doing this, but you do have to start thinking about what’s next,” he said. “You can’t do this forever.”
DeVito isn’t quite ready to hang up the cleats, but he has a plan for when he eventually decides to walk away from the game.
“I’d like to do something in the ministry,” he said. “I’m currently getting my master’s in theology online from a school in California. The ministry is good. I’ve talked about the military, and obviously something I’ve looked at. That would be a great transition.”
DeVito is a staunch supporter of the armed forces and his involvement with the Snowball Express earned him a nomination for the NFL’s “Salute to Service” award.
And whether he answers a higher calling or becomes involved with the military after football, DeVito will do it with a purpose in mind.
“I want to do something that serves people, something like the military police, fireman,” DeVito said. “Those are physical things, so I have that physical aspect of it and I can give back, serve people and help people. That’s something that is important to me.”
Meanwhile, it remains unclear where DeVito will play in 2016 and the doubt comes with the territory of free agency.
The Chiefs could be an option, but DeVito emphasized he doesn’t want to spend time concentrating on the next contract, much less receive daily updates from his representatives.
He prefers to let the process play out while training for the upcoming season.
“My agents are good at keeping me away,” DeVito said. “I’m smart enough now where I’m not going to get involved in this stuff because if I’m caught up on the everyday things that are going on, I drive myself crazy. I say when something big comes up, give me a call, and then we’ll talk about it.”
From online college courses in pursuit of a master’s degree to spending time with his family, DeVito will have reasons to stay occupied while waiting for the call.
He could break out the latest dance move when a new contract is eventually signed, but he decided hiring an instructor or attending dance classes won’t be included in his offseason plans.
“Nobody wants to see me trying to figure out how to dance hip-hop moves,” DeVito said with a chuckle. “I couldn’t do that to somebody. I’m better off just staying anonymous online. Thank God for YouTube.”
Herbie Teope is the lead Chiefs beat writer for ChiefsDigest.com and The Topeka Capital-Journal. Use the contact page to reach him or find him on Twitter: @HerbieTeope.