Thomas Davis plans to return for his 14th season with the Carolina Panthers in 2018, but knows he will take a backseat to the younger linebackers on the roster.

Thomas Davis was selected as the 14th pick overall in the 2005 NFL Draft out of the University of Georgia. At Georgia, he was named an All-SEC first team selection after his junior season and elected to declare early for the NFL Draft.

Davis was actually selected as a Safety, but was immediately converted to a linebacker for the Panthers. Most believe he was selected an convert to linebacker to play as a “spy” to contain, Atlanta Falcons QB Michael Vick, who at the time was taking the league by storm and dominating the NFC South.

Davis has had an up and down career in the NFL, early on he was the man who finally got the Panthers over the hump on defense. Before Davis taking the role as LB, Mike Vick and the Falcons would run crazy over the Panthers defense. Since Davis taking over the reins of the defense, the Panthers have ascended into a dominant player in the NFC yearly.

However, the downs started in the 2009 season, with the first of his three ACL tears. Each time he got hurt, he promised to come back better than ever. After tearing his ACL for a third time, Davis returned to the field for the 2013 season.

It was a career year for Davis, recording 123 tackles and 4 sacks. He added 2 interceptions and a forced fumble and teamed up with Chase Blackburn and Luke Kuechly to form one of the most dominant linebacker corps in the league. In 2013, the Carolina Panthers were ranked as the second best defense in the league.

2015 was also a great year for Davis and his Panthers, the team performed well and made it all the way to the NFC Championship Game versus the Arizona Cardinals in which they punched their ticket to Super Bowl 50. However, Davis broke his forearm in the 2nd quarter, but vowed to play in the Super Bowl two weeks later. Davis went into surgery early the next day and fulfilled his promise and played in Super Bowl 50, recording 7 tackles in their 24-10 loss to Peyton Manning’s Denver Broncos. After the season, Thomas Davis was honored as the 2015 Walter Payton NFL Man on the Year.

After 13 years for the Carolina Panthers, Thomas Davis is a household name when you are talking about the best linebackers in the NFL. Davis has overcome injury after injury and continued to play at a high level. Although his role may be diminished, Davis’ legacy will continue across the NFL.

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