Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis has had a long and at times rough ride with the team. But when the ride in Carolina ends, that’ll be it for Davis.
“If I’m going to play football and represent an organization, it’s going to be with the team that stuck beside me and never gave up on me,” Davis said this week, via Jonathan Jones of the Charlotte Observer. “My mindset right now is, I’m going to play for the Carolina Panthers or I’m done playing football.”
This means that Davis would have retired if the Panthers hadn’t picked up two option years after a great 2013 season.
“It was up to them to make the decision whether they wanted to keep me around,” Davis said. “And fortunately enough for me I played well enough for them to bring me back.”
Davis, following three ACL tears in the same knee between 2009 and 2011, shed a knee brace in practice this offseason. Coach Ron Rivera noticed that Davis is faster without it. But that doesn’t mean Rivera likes it.
“I’d rather see him practice with it on,” Rivera said, via Jones. “Thank you for reminding me. He’s going to get in trouble with me.”
Davis won’t be getting in trouble with the head coach over his Panthers-or-no-one position.
“You try to build is loyalty and trust, and along the way you develop a relationship,” Rivera said. “You have to be honest and you have to stay with it. For the commitment T.D. has made to this team, I didn’t think it’d be right to cast him aside.”
Moving forward, it’ll be interesting to see whether the Panthers will do what other teams surely would do once knowing that a player wouldn’t go elsewhere — squeeze the player financially knowing that they’ll never have to see him suiting up for someone else.