Thomas Davis belongs in the Pro Football Hall of Fame

(Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) Thomas Davis
(Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) Thomas Davis /

Thomas Davis is hanging up his cleats after a superb career that will surely come with an induction into the Carolina Panthers Hall of Honor.

What a career.

And what a man.

Thomas Davis announced he was retiring from the NFL shortly after his release by the Washington Football Team on Wednesday. This paves the way for him to return home and sign a one-day contract with the Carolina Panthers before making the move official in June.

Any other outcome just wouldn’t feel right. Davis was a huge part of the Panthers‘ culture both on and off the field for a 13-year span. His ferocious play at the second level was matched by a fierce will to win that inspired others around him on almost every play that made the player an instant fan favorite.

Although he spent time away under former head coach Ron Rivera and with the Los Angeles Chargers in 2019, this is the right way for Davis to hang up his cleats.

Simply put, Davis can walk away from the game safe in the knowledge he gave absolutely everything to the cause.

Even though a Super Bowl narrowly evaded the prolific linebacker, he will go down in Panthers’ folklore as one of their greatest-ever players and provided the organization with the best tandem at the second level they’ve ever had alongside Luke Kuechly, who also called it a day last year.

Davis issued a heartfelt message full of both gratefulness and thanks for his time in the league and for the love given to him by the Panthers’ loyal fanbase throughout a sensational career.

"“To be able to play 16 years in this league has truly been a blessing, and I can’t thank God enough for seeing fit to put me in this position to do that. To the Carolina fanbase, I just want to say to you guys, you guys have been tremendous throughout my entire career. I can not thank you guys enough for your love and support. I can not wait to sign that one-day (contract) and retire a Panther. Keep pounding.”"

Thomas Davis put up some big numbers for the Carolina Panthers.

The former Georgia star’s career stats during his time with the Panthers were just outstanding.

  • First-Team All-Pro
  • 3 x Pro Bowler
  • 176 games played (158 starts)
  • 1,098 tackles
  • 87 tackles for loss
  • 59 quarterback hits
  • 28 sacks
  • 18 forced fumbles
  • 11 fumble recoveries
  • 52 passes defended
  • 13 interceptions

Looking back on statistics and career achievements is great. But the legacy Davis left off the field will not soon be forgotten.

Davis was the recipient of the Walter Payton Man of the Year in 2014, which is always regarded as one of the more prestigious awards given out every year. This was down to his exceptional commitment to helping those less fortunate throughout the community as part of the Thomas Davis Defending Dreams Foundation.

Things could have gone either way for Davis after a serious knee injury forced him to miss the 2010 season. His ability to not only come back – but be even better than before – is a testament to the perseverance and drive to be the very best despite the odds being against him.

A place in the Hall of Honor is a no-brainer when the time is right. Davis poured his heart and soul into the Panthers and this recognition is the least he deserves.

Not many have accomplished what Davis managed to achieve as a professional. Whether this comes with a Pro Football Hall of Fame nod down the line is up for debate. But his case is a strong one, to put it mildly.

Nobody who ever saw Davis flying around the field at the peak of his powers will ever forget it. The Panthers were fortunate to have him and it’s important they acknowledge his contribution in the right way.