After 14 years, 3 pro bowl appearances and a ‘Walter Payton Man of the Year’ Award, reports out of Carolina are that the Panthers are looking to part ways with veteran Linebacker, Thomas Davis.
After announcing that the 2018 NFL Season would be his last as a pro, Davis hinted throughout the season that he would be open to going back on his retirement plans and eventually confirmed his desire to continue to play, stating “If the team is willing to have me back, I’ll be back.”
However, a deleted tweet by WFNZ reported that Thomas Davis was not in the Panthers plans going forward and was told to ‘clean out his locker for good.’
This decision would’ve likely been made with 2015 1st Round Pick Shaq Thompson in mind, who despite coming into his 4th year in the league in 2018, only saw roughly 60% of snaps when Davis returned from suspension in week 6, compared to playing every single defensive snap in the 4 games prior – and being very productive whilst doing so. It is also likely that the development of other young players such as 2018 5th Round Pick Jermaine Carter played a big role in Panthers GM Marty Hurney coming to this decision if it does turn out that reports are true.
The severity of this move as far as Carolina is concerned cannot be overstated. Davis is currently the longest serving player on the roster, a huge figure on the field, in the locker room and in the community. He is the only known sportsman to come back from 3 ACL surgery’s and continue to play in the top league of his sport, and it is arguable that he had the prime years of his career after these surgery’s took place.
Thomas Davis’ toughness cannot be questioned, his commitment to the Carolina Panthers cannot be questioned, and if reports are true that he is not to return in 2019… It is likely that we may never see another player wear the number 58 for the team ever again.