Thomas Davis not in Carolina Panthers' plans
Last Updated: 10/01/19 7:22am
Linebacker Thomas Davis intends to return for a 14th NFL season in 2019, but it won't be with the Carolina Panthers, the team that drafted him in 2005.
In a video posted Wednesday on Twitter, an emotional Davis said the team told him Monday he is not in their plans moving forward, but he is not ready to retire.
"This is extremely tough for me," Davis, a pending free agent, said. "I loved and cherished every moment we had in Carolina. ... But I'm not retiring. I feel like I have way too much football left in me to walk away from the game right now. So I want to keep playing, I'm gonna keep playing. Hopefully someone's gonna give me that opportunity.
"But Panther Nation, just know: In no way did I ever imagine putting on another uniform. Still to this day, I don't want to do it, but I want to play football."
Davis, who turns 36 in March, said last January that 2018 would be his final season, but he walked those comments back in August. Having received a four-game suspension in April, Davis told reporters at training camp he didn't want to end his career on a sour note.
After returning from suspension, Davis totalled 79 tackles (three for loss) and six passes defensed in 12 games this year, playing 86.8 per cent of the snaps. The Panthers likely have a larger role pegged for former first-round pick Shaq Thompson, who posted career highs of 79 tackles and 3.5 sacks while playing 66.7 per cent of the snaps in 2018, down from 75.0 per cent in 2017. Thompson, 24, is entering the fifth-year option of his rookie contract, which will pay him $9.2 million.
Coincidentally, Davis announced the Panthers' selection of Thompson live at the draft when Carolina took him with the 25th overall pick in 2015. Davis had been taken 14th overall by the Panthers 10 years earlier.
Davis, who has overcome three torn ACLs in his career, is the franchise's all-time tackle leader with 796, 176 ahead of Luke Kuechly. Davis also has 87 tackles for loss, 28 sacks, 13 interceptions, 52 passes defensed, 18 forced fumbles and 11 fumble recoveries in 176 career games, earning three Pro Bowl nods and one first-team All-Pro selection.
He was the NFL's 2014 Walter Payton Man of the Year.