Amid distractions, a Davis preseason quote still rings true
Veteran and captain Thomas Davis made a preseason remark that set a tone for the season…
Days prior to Thomas Davis and the Carolina Panthers beginning training camp the team parted ways with general manager Dave Gettleman and enlisted the services of a former figure in the position, Marty Hurney. The move was unexpected and caught many, including those inside the locker room off guard.
Speculation began to swirl, the firing was in relation to Gettleman’s perceived friction with Panthers captains Davis and Greg Olsen. Both are seeing the sun go down on their careers while performing at arguably their highest level of long and storied tenures for each.
Davis, in particular, did not take the correlation well and was even more irked by how fans were responding to the news. Typically, if a change in the general manager is going to take place it happens following the season giving a new individual an opportunity at the draft and finding some building blocks for success, not prior to the first organized practice.
According to Scott Fowler of The Charlotte Observer, Davis offered the following comment on his current situation at the time.
"“Looking at social media and seeing all the talk, and the people rushing to judgment saying our season is going to be terrible because we let our GM go a week before – you have to realize that we are the ones that go out and play the games. We will determine how our season goes.”"
Davis has done a lot of remarkable things both on and off the field in Charlotte, but predicting the future and offering sage advice may be his most impressive performance to date. Unlike the incredible 2015 season where Carolina went nearly undefeated and to the Super Bowl surrounded by trivial controversies like torn down signs, an end zone celebration and posing for sideline photographs (the Panthers did it first), the 2017 season has been marred in potential distractions.
Beginning with the Gettleman firing and most recently the announcement of a franchise sale and investigation into owner Jerry Richardson, plenty of opportunities to be sidetracked have occurred along the way.
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Two star offensive captains have been unavailable for a majority of the season, quarterback Cam Newton’s questionable relationship with the local media, trading the team’s former first-round pick and number one wide receiver, players upset over their assigned roles and playing time – all potential factors that could immediately derail a season.
Now, a cloud of uncertainty surrounds the entire franchise as the Richardson investigation moves forward for a team without an owner. A new Chief Operating Officer has been assigned to handle day-to-day activities but it will be up to coach Ron Rivera, his staff and the players to remain focused on the task at hand – winning a Super Bowl.
Fortunately, the players “are the ones who go out and play the games” and at 10-4 needing just one more win to clinch a playoff berth, all involved have done a phenomenal job to this point.
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While Davis will not be with his teammates this week, serving a reduced one-game suspension for his blindside block on Packers receiver Davante Adams, his preseason statement applies more now than when it was originally delivered.