Carolina Panthers: Making the Case for a Thomas Davis Comebackby Prime Time Sports Talk March 5, 2019 2 comments
Should the Carolina Panthers bring Thomas Davis back?
In early January, shortly after the 2018 NFL regular season came to a close, Thomas Davis, the Carolina Panthers former No. 1 draft pick out of the University of Georgia in 2005, was given the news that he wouldn’t be re-signed for the upcoming 2019 season.
However, Davis wasn’t quite ready to hang up his cleats just yet. He gave his fans a tearful and emotional farewell and talked candidly of his hopes of being picked up by another team, any team.
But he knows all too well his age will be a huge factor in this hope turning into a reality.
Davis is one of the most indisputable linebackers in modern NFL history. He boasted three trips to the Pro Bowl, won the prestigious Walter Payton Man of the Year Award in 2014, and overcame three ACL surgeries. Just to name a few of his accomplishments.
He ended his career in Carolina with over 1,000 total tackles, 28 sacks, 18 forced fumbles, nine fumble recoveries, 13 interceptions, and one defensive touchdown.
Or did he?
This week, in an interview with WFNZ, head coach Ron Rivera was asked if there could be a role for Davis on the team in the 2019 season. His response gave hundreds of thousands of fans in Carolina hope that they’ll see Davis back this spring in a Panthers uniform.
“You never know. You don’t know how things are going to turn out,” said Rivera. “Just because free agency’s starting in a couple weeks doesn’t mean anything. We’ll see how things unfold.”
It is possible that, despite his age (he turns 36 in a few weeks), Davis could still be a force on the field and prove to be very beneficial to any defense, but especially a young defense in need of some fresh leadership, or possibly a division rival who would be thrilled to get a treasure trove of information about an opponent they challenge twice a year.
However, we know of at least one team, (Pittsburgh Steelers) who have made it known that they have no interest in him because they consider him “too old.” Davis has stated he isn’t ready to end his career, whether it be in Carolina or any other team. However, for a man that has played his entire career for Carolina, he’s been very clear that sticking around with the Panthers is where his heart is and where he truly wants to end his career. As long as it isn’t right now.
In addition, Coach Rivera isn’t ready to lose Davis to free agency or retirement just yet.
“I still haven’t come to grips with it. It’s been very hard for me,” said Rivera. “Thomas reached out to me afterwards, and he said ‘you know, I never had a chance to say goodbye.’ And I still haven’t. Because I don’t know what to say to him right now. Personally, it’s been odd because who he is. He is really a special individual.”
You never know. You don’t know how things are going to turn out.
No one is sure what fate has in store for Davis or the Panthers but Coach Rivera, the players, and the fans are hoping for the stars to shine in their favor and bring Davis home to Carolina with a respectable farewell season.