3 factors that made Thomas Davis an all-time Panthers great

(Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports) Thomas Davis
(Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports) Thomas Davis /
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Carolina Panthers
(Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports) Thomas Davis /

Former Carolina Panthers LB Thomas Davis is retiring after a glittering career.

Another cornerstone of the Carolina Panthers in years gone by is calling it a day. Thomas Davis announced on Tuesday that the 2020 season will be his last in the NFL, which brings the curtain down on a sensational 16-year career that resulted in three Pro Bowl trips and a first-team All-Pro selection back in 2015.

Father time waits for no man. But Davis has managed to prolong his career better than most at the linebacker position.

It is one of the more brutal areas of the field to play, of that there is little doubt. And one only has to look at Luke Kuechly‘s decision to retire after just eight years with the Carolina Panthers to see the potential damage it can do to your long-term health.

It was heart-warming to see Davis mixing with his former teammates in Carolina prior to their game at the Washington Football Team in Week 16, even though he wasn’t able to participate. He is still held in the highest regard by fans and teammates alike. And judging by his performances on the field, it’s not hard to see why.

When one examines the greatest ever Carolina Panthers, then Davis is high on the shortlist. He might not have achieved the limelight of Steve Smith, Julius Peppers, Cam Newton, or Kuechly. But his contribution was invaluable after arriving at the organization as the No. 14 overall selection in 2005 out of Georgia.

Nobody who saw Davis flying around in his prime will ever forget it. Here are three major factors that will ensure the player goes down as one of the true Panthers greats.

Factor No. 1

Carolina Panthers
(Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports) Thomas Davis /


Things could have gone in a completely different direction for Davis once upon a time. A devastating knee injury just seven games into the 2009 season significantly derailed his progress and left some questioning whether or not he’d be able to come back to the player of old.

A substantial period of rehabilitation saw Davis miss the 2010 season before returning for two games in 2011 before tearing his ACL once again. However, it is a sign of his exceptional character and determination that he not only overcame this but also managed to rack up more than 100 tackles in each of the next five years from 2012-16.

Davis was the embodiment of Carolina’s “Keep Pounding” mantra, and this will to do whatever is necessary was one of the key components behind the team’s phenomenal success in the mid-2010s.