Thomas Davis missed football because he was a football player.
But the Panthers linebacker also missed his support system, when he went through a difficult personal time during his suspension.
Via David Newton of ESPN.com, Davis came back from his four-game suspension for violating the league’s policy on performance-enhancing substances this week, after a turbulent month which included the death of his father and his mother having a pair of emergency surgeries.
“When you lose a parent, when you have your mother have two emergency surgeries, and besides the family, not really have the guys you depended on so much over the years to lean on, it makes it that much tougher,” Davis said. “It’s definitely good to be back.
“Being able to go out there and practice takes you away from things you have going on in your life, some of the things you have to deal with on a daily basis.”
Davis said he was grateful that teammates will be able to be with him Saturday, when they bury his father Ulysses, who died after complications following a heart attack. The Panthers will then fly to Washington for a game the next day, Davis’ first of the season.
“I’m pretty sure things are going to be pretty difficult Saturday when we have the funeral,” Davis said. “Seeing that situation he was in for a whole month and coming to grips he really wasn’t getting any better, . . . you start to feel like you can’t no longer be selfish in wanting him to keep staying in that position.”
While his professional situation pales in comparison, his story underscores the human bonds created within locker rooms, and it’s clear having those taken away for a month had an impact on Davis as well.