After 14 seasons as a linebacker with the Carolina Panthers, Thomas Davis finds himself in a circumstance unlike any he has experienced in the NFL.
Davis is entering free agency, which, if things work out the way he hopes, will allow him to continue playing.
‘Guys don’t really last that long on one team anymore’
Besides the uncertainty of whether he will get such an opportunity is the question of where it will be from among the league’s 31 other teams.
“I’m a little nervous about it, but looking forward to it,” Davis told Ross Tucker and Ed McCaffrey on The Opening Drive. “For me, I’ve been around this league a long time and I understand that this is a business. Guys don’t really last that long on one team anymore. Ever since the whole free agency thing started back in the ‘90s, guys don’t really stay on the same team for the duration of their careers unless you’re a quarterback.
‘The Panthers have a ton of young linebackers that they want to get looks’
“But for me, I understand that this is a business. The Panthers have a ton of young linebackers that they want to get looks and they want to get those guys opportunity to play.”
“For me, I kind of took it personally when I first heard the news, but after a week or so I understood.”
At first, the idea that the Panthers would not be retaining him came as a jolt to Davis. He admitted that it hurt his feelings, but he got over it.
‘I’m just really looking forward to really going out and showing another team what I’m capable of still doing’
“For me, I kind of took it personally when I first heard the news, but after a week or so I understood,” he said. “I understand that it’s the business and now I’m just really looking forward to really going out and showing another team what I’m capable of still doing as a football player.
“The passion is still burning inside of me to continue to play this game. As I reflect and look on last season, obviously as a football team, it didn’t go the way that we wanted it to go. I feel like I still have a lot left to offer to this game. I missed four games; we all know about the PED suspension that I had to serve at the beginning of the season and I was able to have more tackles and be more productive as a football player missing four games than I did playing 15 games the year before. I think that, in itself, does really speak to my ability to still be able to play this game and I’m looking forward to having a great year for whoever decides to give me a chance.”
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