FRISCO, Texas —
Dallas Cowboys fans know DeMarcus Lawrence as a high-motor quarterback destroyer. But 2020 has forced change upon us all. And once the pandemic hit, the defensive end known for inflicting pain shifted his purpose to providing comfort.
“When a crisis or anything happens big in our community, in our backyard, we don't want to leave our neighbor out in the street and have our neighbors looking around for help,” said Lawrence.
He backed up those words, providing meals for first responders. Coordinating with his marketing team, they created pop-up events that also supported food truck vendors. And they put together a gift card drive to support local restaurants.
“Just to be able to go out there and know that I'm trying my best to be able to do whatever I can for the community, it does give a good feeling in the heart," Lawrence said.
As is so often the case when someone is of service to others, Lawrence said he got more out of the work than he put into it. Elevating his efforts in the community allowed him to leverage his platform with the Cowboys to make an impact felt beyond what he does in NFL stadiums.
“I look at Dallas as my favorite home and I want to be able to make sure Dallas continues to strive for greatness. And everybody is out here safe,” he said.
Amidst our country’s reckoning with social justice issues, Lawrence has also been outspoken in his call for change, which includes, among other things, spearheading a voter registration drive.
His action-based, hands-on approach in both the fight for social justice and against COVID-19 can be traced back to what he calls “a humble beginning" in South Carolina.
His father would often wake him just after dawn to handle chores.
“And I'm like, 'Dad, man, what's going on, like why I gotta go through all this?' He always would tell me, 'In order to be the man, you have to take on responsibilities that you don't even sometimes want to,” Lawrence said.
Change, evolution, displacement from one’s comfort zone - that’s what 2020 has meant for us all.
Even for a pro-bowler normally hyper-focused on his craft and family, and admittedly not much more.
When asked what he learned from engaging with the community to get the work done, he said it was “different.”
“Even though I'm a nice guy, I don't like to focus on nobody else but me,” said Lawrence. “And it was kind of good to be able to, you know, focus on other people instead of myself.”
This year has been so difficult for so many. But this shining star is showing how hometown MVPs can provide light even in our darkest days.
“Just to be able to also show them that caring is great,” Lawrence said. “You know, you have to be able to open your heart and let people know that you care about them.”