Thomas Davis says 2018 will be his final year

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Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis said this week that he expects to play a reduced role in the team’s defense during the 2018 season and he won’t wait around for that role to grow even smaller in 2019.

Davis told Brooke Cersosimo of NFL Media that 2018 will be his final season as an NFL player.

Davis joined the Panthers as a first-round pick in 2005 and made one start as a rookie before moving up the depth chart in his second year. He’s started all but three games that he’s played for Carolina since the start of the 2006 season, but missed all but nine games from 2009-2011 because he tore his ACL three times.

He returned to play in strong form, making second team All-Pro in 2013 and the first team in 2015. He was also named the Walter Payton Man of the Year in 2014 in recognition of his off-field work.