Thomas Davis

Extra Points: Panthers, Cardinals, Texans

Earlier this offseason, Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis made it sound like 2018 was going to be his final season in the NFL. However, the veteran acknowledged last month that he was open to continuing his playing career in 2019. Today, the 35-year-old echoed that sentiment, telling Panthers.com that his impending four-game suspension played a role in him changing his mind.

“I look at the way things transpired this offseason and think back to, really, my legacy and the things that I’ve been able to do as a football player,” Davis said. “I don’t want to leave on a sour note. You never want to walk away from the game knowing that you served a four-game suspension. That’s my mindset right now.”

Davis, who finished last season with 52 tackles and 2.5 sacks in 15 games, has been especially upbeat during this year’s training camp.

“When you factor in that (suspension), and the fact that I may not ever get another training camp – I embrace it every day,” Davis said. “Talk trash to Cam (Newton) at a high level daily. Just competing and having fun with my teammates – that’s what training camp is all about.”

Let’s take a look at some more notes from around the NFL…

  • Markus Golden is still working his way back from an ACL injury that ended his 2017 campaign. The Cardinals defensive end hasn’t been able to participate in coach Steve Wilks and coordinator Al Holcomb‘s defense, but he’s still found reasons to be encouraged heading into next season. “Ever since I got injured – especially once I found out I wasn’t going to be in camp – I wanted to encourage guys,” Golden told Darren Urban of AZCardinals.com. “You can tell they are competing. And that’s what I want to see.” Specifically, Golden was pointing to the trio of players who are stepping up in his absence: Vontarrius Dora, Benson Mayowa and Arthur Moats.
  • While Texans running back D’Onta Foreman remains on the physically unable to perform list, it sounds like the second-year weapon is recovering from a ruptured Achilles tendon. “I think he’s progressing well,” coach Bill O’Brien told Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle. “I think he’s doing well. He’s on the right track, and we’ll see. We’ll see how it goes, but I think he’s headed in the right direction.” Foreman’s season ended in November, at which point he had compiled 327 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 78 carries.
  • In case you missed it, the Patriots moved on from wideout Malcolm Mitchell earlier today. The former fourth-rounder had been unable to stay healthy during his stint in New England.

Panthers’ Davis Hopes To Play Beyond ’18

In January, Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis indicated that 2018 would probably be his final year in the league. Now, it sounds like the veteran wants to continue his career into 2019, as Joseph Person of the Charlotte Observer writes. 

It’s possible that Davis has had a change of heart after learning that he would be suspended for the first four games of the 2018 season. What would have been a 16-game regular season swan song has now been reduced to 12 games, and Davis is probably looking to leave the game on a high note. Davis has denied taking performance-enhancing substances and told fans that he is “not a cheater.”

Davis has just one year to go on his deal, so he’ll need a new deal or an extension in order to stay on board. When asked whether he has discussed an extension with new owner David Tepper or GM Marty Hurney, Davis said, “We haven’t had those conversations.”

The Panthers value Davis, but they also have a younger linebacker in Shaq Thompson that has flashed serious potential at times. If Thompson excels during Davis’ four-game ban, the Panthers could opt to move on from the 35-year-old.

Despite his age, Davis continues to play at a high level. Last year, he earned his third straight Pro Bowl berth and finished second on the team with 88 tackles. He also stands as the franchise’s all-time leading tackler.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Thomas Davis Suspended For Violating PED Policy

Panthers veteran linebacker Thomas Davis announced Friday (on Twitter) that he’s been suspended for the first four games of the upcoming season for violating the league’s policy on performance-enhancing substances. This is Davis’ first suspension for violating the league’s PED policy.

“This is by far one of the saddest days of my NFL career,” Davis said in the tweet, which was accompanied by a video. “I never thought that this would happen to me. I’ve worked extremely hard to do things the right way on and off the field. Panther Nation please know that I am not a cheater.

The Panthers have yet to comment on the suspension. Davis said in the video that he was “caught off guard” when he received a positive test for what he said he was an estrogen blocker supplement.

“I’ve taken the same supplements for the last seven or eight years and never had any issues, been tested numerous times over the years while taking the same stuff,” Davis said in the video. “Unfortunately, this is some of the things that happen when you take supplements. I’ve never tested positive for steroids or HGH. This is not one of those situations.”

Davis, 35, had indicated that 2018 would be his last season but said in the video that it might not be due to the suspension. He’s spent all 13 seasons of his career with Carolina, including three Pro Bowl appearances and winning the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award in 2014.

Davis was set to start at outside linebacker in the Panthers’ 4-3 scheme, with Shaq Thompson on the other edge and Luke Kuechly in the middle. Ben Jacobs, Richie Brown and David Mayo are likely to see an uptick in playing time during Thompson’s absence.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Panthers’ Thomas Davis To Retire After 2018

Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis has one more year left in him. The veteran tells Brooke Cersosimo of NFL.com (on Twitter) that the 2018 campaign will be his last. Thomas Davis (vertical)

Davis inked a one-year, $6.75MM extension with the Panthers in August, granting him $2MM this past year plus $1MM guaranteed in the coming season. He is aware that he may be asked to take a reduced role in 2018, but he might not be okay with being relegated to a backup role.

The Panthers’ Super Bowl hopes were dashed last week when they fell to the rival Saints in the opening round of the playoffs. In his swan song, Davis is hoping to capture the Super Bowl ring that has eluded him thus far in his 12-year career.

Davis finished out the year with 76 total tackles and 2.5 sacks. He appeared in 15 regular season games with his lone missed contest coming as the result of a suspension.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Panthers Rumors: Hurney, Johnson, Davis

The Panthers’ offseason began on Sunday after a tough loss to the rival Saints. With an eye on the Panthers’ offseason, here’s the latest out of Carolina:

NFL Reduces LB Thomas Davis’ Suspension

The NFL has officially reduced Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis‘ suspension from two games to one, the league announced today.Thomas Davis

Davis was originally banned two games after a helmet-to-helmet hit on Packers wide receiver Davante Adams on Sunday. The NFL has seemingly developed a pattern for these type of offenses: an original two-game suspension, followed by a reduction to one game. It’s the same formula the league used for Bears linebacker Danny Trevathan, who coincidentally was also suspended following a hit on Adams.

Now that his ban has been lessened, Davis will miss the Panthers’ next game against the Buccaneers but will now be available for Carolina’s regular season finale against the Falcons. The Panthers, for what it’s worth, are nearly a lock to earn a postseason berth, but have just a 17% chance at winning the NFC South, per FiveThirtyEight.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFL Suspends Panthers’ Thomas Davis

The NFL announced a two-game suspension for Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis. Davis will appeal, according to ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter (Twitter link). Thomas Davis

On Sunday, Davis leveled Packers receiver Davante Adams with a helmet-leading hit. NFL Vice President of Football Operations Jon Runyan handed down the ban on Monday, citing Davis’ history of breaking the rules:

During an interception return, you took a path toward your opponent who was pursuing the play and delivered a violent and unnecessary blindside block to his head and neck area. You have been previously fined for violations of safety-related rules. Your actions yesterday warrant an escalation of discipline, not only because they were flagrant, but also because of your status as a repeat offender.”

It seems unlikely that Davis will get the entire suspension overturned, but he could have the ban cut in half. As it stands, however, Davis is slated to miss the team’s final two regular season games against the Buccaneers and Falcons.

The Panthers have nearly solidified their place as one of the NFC’s Wild Card teams. They still have a 24% chance of overtaking the Saints for the NFC South title, according to the New York Times’ playoff calculator.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Panthers Rumors: Davis, Olsen, Kuechly

Thomas Davis provided some clarification about his health this week, making a slight correction to his wife’s assessment of an injury with which he’s dealing. During a TV interview, Kelly Davis said her husband was broken “completely broken ribs” for several weeks. The longest-tenured Panthers player said (via David Newton of ESPN.com) his wife didn’t lie and he is dealing with a broken bone in that area, but only one rib is affected. The 13th-year linebacker added the injury has healed to the point he doesn’t have to treat it any further. The Panthers called Kelly Davis’ comments “heartfelt” but “overstated,” noting Thomas Davis did appear on the team’s injury report for multiple weeks due to a rib ailment. Having started each of Carolina’s seven games this season, the linebacker is not in danger of missing Sunday’s game against the Buccaneers.

Here’s the latest out of Charlotte.

  • Greg Olsen says he’ll test his surgically repaired foot on the field next week, Joseph Person of the Charlotte Observer writes. That’s when Olsen will first become eligible to resume practicing after going on IR in Week 3. If he’s healthy enough, Olsen could suit up again in mid-November. League rules dictate that players can return from IR after spending eight weeks on the list.
  • Ryan Kalil has played in just two of Carolina’s seven games this season and is unlikely to see action Sunday, although Ron Rivera said the longtime center could play in an emergency situation. Kalil’s dealing with a neck injury, one he aggravated in Week 7 after returning to the lineup. Rivera said (via Jourdan Rodrigue of the Charlotte Observer, on Twitter) the Panthers are not ready to discuss an IR move for the 11th-year snapper. Tyler Larsen has started in Kalil’s place.
  • Luke Kuechly is in the final stage of concussion protocol, needing to be cleared by an independent doctor in order to play this week. The All-Pro middle linebacker practiced fully all week, per Newton, and is just more than two weeks removed from the latest concussion he suffered. Signs point to Kuechly playing against the Bucs. Should Kuechly return after missing just one game, it will mark his shortest concussion-induced absence as an NFLer. He missed three games in 2015 and six last season because of head injuries.
  • Rivera added the Panthers will get Kurt Coleman back after three missed games. The safety missed time because of a knee injury.

Zach Links contributed to this report.

Panthers, Thomas Davis Agree To Extension

The Panthers and Thomas Davis have agreed to an extension. It will be a one-year, $6.75MM add-on for 2018, a source tells Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). The new pact also gives him an additional $2MM guaranteed for the coming year plus $1MM guaranteed in 2018.Thomas Davis (vertical)

[RELATED: Panthers Want To Extend OL Andrew Norwell]

Davis, 34, started in all 16 games last season and led all Panthers defenders in snaps. He proved that he has plenty of good football left as he tallied 106 tackles, three interceptions, two fumble recoveries, and a touchdown.

Many believed that Davis would get the extension he was seeking once GM Dave Gettleman was fired and Marty Hurney was brought back in as the GM on an interim basis. Hurney insisted that this time around, he would not allow his emotional attachment to players to dictate his business decisions. Davis and Hurney do have history together, but Hurney believes that this was the right move to make from a football and business perspective.

Davis is coming off of his second consecutive Pro Bowl appearance. Last year, he graded out the 39th best linebacker in the entire NFL, according to Pro Football Focus. If he can continue to play at that level, the extension will prove to be a win for Carolina. If he declines in 2017, the Panthers can escape the deal pretty easily.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Talks Ongoing For Panthers, Thomas Davis

Before his surprise firing, Dave Gettleman engaged in extension talks with Thomas Davis‘ camp. The new Panthers regime led by Marty Hurney has been in place just over a week, but negotiations have apparently picked up again. The linebacker told reporters on Wednesday morning that talks are “ongoing,” (Twitter link via Joseph Person of the Charlotte Observer). Thomas Davis (vertical)

[RELATED: Tight End Greg Olsen Changes Course]

Tight end Greg Olsen backed off from his contract demands on Tuesday, citing a desire to avoid further distractions for Carolina. Davis’ situation is a bit different, however, since he has only one year to go versus the two years left on Olsen’s pact. Davis’ relationship with Hurney may help his cause, though the interim GM has promised to focus on analytics over emotion going forward.

Davis, 34, started in all 16 games last season and led all Panthers defenders in snaps. He proved that he has plenty of good football left as he tallied 106 tackles, three interceptions, two fumble recoveries, and a touchdown.

Davis’ current deal calls for an $8.25MM cap hit in 2017.

 

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.