Carolina Panthers: Greg Olsen and Thomas Davis get a day to remember
By Dean Jones
The Carolina Panthers gave Thomas Davis and Greg Olsen a day to remember with an incredible retirement ceremony.
There wasn’t a dry eye in the house as the Carolina Panthers formally said goodbye to a pair of legendary figures whose contribution to the organization will live through the ages. Greg Olsen and Thomas Davis formally signed one-day contracts to officially retire as Panthers, which is the only way either of them could finish their respective careers.
It was always going to be an emotional day. Olsen and Davis gave so much to the Panthers both on and off the field and although the day was tinged with sadness about what might have been – especially during the 2015 season – nobody can look at these two players and not think they didn’t give everything to the cause.
Carolina went all out for the much-loved duo, putting on a retirement ceremony on Thursday that won’t soon be forgotten by those in attendance or watching from afar on social media.
If Davis brought the swagger with his custom-made suit inspired by his old uniform in Carolina, then Olsen brought somberness and an unprecedented emotion that we rarely saw from the player during his time with the franchise.
The tight end called getting traded to the Panthers “the greatest thing that could have ever happened to me and my family“, which is further evidence of the profound effect the region had on the Pro Bowler before he left to join the Seattle Seahawks last year.
As fortune would have it, this was also Olsen’s birthday.
And what a way to celebrate it.
His presence on the roster is still sorely missed and is something the Panthers should address during the offseason. However, replicating what Olsen did away from the field will be almost impossible after he gave so much back to children less fortunate to such an extent he was named as a finalist for the prestigious Walter Payton Man of the Year, an award that was won by Davis in 2014.
Simply put, the former linebacker was the embodiment of the Keep Pounding spirit envisaged by the late, great Sam Mills. He fought back from three ACL tears to become a dominant force at the second level and form the most prolific of partnerships with Luke Kuechly, who dropped a bombshell retirement of his own following the 2019 campaign.
Davis was emotional, as expected, saying goodbye to the game he’s played all his life.
A person of exceptional character, his selflessness was also evident in his closing statement that focused on providing a message to young players aiming to make the pros that are a little down on their luck.
"Don’t give up. Keep fighting, Keep Pounding."
Carolina Panthers owner David Tepper deserves credit.
For all David Tepper’s faults in dealing with iconic figures and their departures since taking over at the helm, he deserves an enormous amount of credit for getting this event organized in a safe manner amid the ongoing concerns surrounding COVID-19 to honor two of Carolina’s greatest-ever performers.
It was the least they deserved ad nobody who was part of the occasion will ever forget it.
Olsen now heads to the FOX Sports studio as an analyst, where he is sure to thrive.
As for Davis, considering how much passion he still has for the game, it wouldn’t be the biggest shock in the world to see him go down the coaching route sooner rather than later.
Their names will do down in Panthers’ history and surely in the Hall of Honor when the opportunity presents itself. Olsen and Davis are two more of the old guard in Carolina that have now hung up their cleats and yes, it is hard to let go for those who experienced the glittering highs of the mid-2010s.
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All any Panthers fan can say to Olsen and Davis is thank you. They deserve all the happiness and success in the world and nobody that ever saw them at the peak of their powers will forget it in a hurry.