Thomas Davis has had a tremendous career for the Carolina Panthers. As he enters his final season, he looks to cap it off in style.
Carolina Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis is ready to have a monster season. After all, it will be his last. A first-round pick in 2005 out of the University of Georgia, Davis is ready to end his career with a bang.
What a career it has been. Making the Pro Bowl the past three seasons, Davis’s time with the Panthers has been a long and productive one. He did not even begin his career as a linebacker. Instead, Davis spent his rookie year of 2005 as a strong safety.
He appeared in all 16 games that year, starting one, recording two forced fumbles, 1.5 sacks, and 31 tackles. It was apparent from the get-go that he was going to be a special player in the National Football League, and if nothing else, he has been a model of consistency ever since.
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2006 was the year that saw him transition to linebacker. Although he played well at the safety position, it was apparent that linebacker was where he felt most at home. He played in 14 games, starting all of them and recorded 88 tackles and three sacks. If nothing else, the 2006 season was a solid measuring stick for how the rest of his career would go. Hard-hitting, impactful and ready to lead, those were three traits evident in Davis’s career early.
2008 saw Davis turn heads and begin to establish himself as one of the dominant linebackers in the NFL. He started all 16 games that year (as he had in 2007) and tallied 113 tackles, 2.5 sacks and three forced fumbles. At the time, it appeared that nothing would slow him down. For a while after 2008, that sentiment was true. As is often the case with football players, the injury bug will hit and for many, it hits hard.
ACL injuries were common for Davis throughout the course of his career. By 2011, he had already been the victim of two ACL tears. On September 18, 2011 he tore his ACL for the third time in as many years. Many wondered if he would play football again. He would return, and come back better than ever. Tommy Tomlinson of ESPN wrote a story about his comeback, and he was one of the best comeback stories in the league. Over the course of the next six seasons, he would play some of the best football of his career. It was almost as if the injury divided his career into two parts and allowed him to experience a rebirth of sorts.
In a career that includes 750 tackles, 26 sacks, and 18 forced fumbles, Thomas Davis is ready to call it quits. The interesting thing is, he has not shown any signs of slowing down. In 2017, he recorded 52 tackles in 15 games, all of which he started. That put him third on the team behind James Bradberry and Luke Kuechly.
As he rides off into the sunset approaching his final season, one has to wonder what is in store for him in 2018. If it is anything like last season, it should be a productive one, with a potential to land another Pro Bowl berth.