After 14 seasons, three torn ACLs and the most tackles in franchise history, Thomas Davis’ career as a Carolina Panthers uniform is over.
But his career as an NFL linebacker will continue, much to the chagrin of many Panthers fans – and Davis himself.
The 35-year old who has played in 176 games since 2005, all in a Panthers uniform, was informed by the Panthers that they would not be re-signing him for the 2019 season and while he spent the last month extolling the virtue of the Panthers and not wanting to play in the colors of another team, his hunger to continue his career and show that he still has football left in him will take him to another NFL team, Davis stated in an emotional video posted to social media Wednesday night.
“I wanted to come back and I wanted to help fix that,” Davis said about the team’s 7-9 finish in 2018. “But unfortunately, I’m not going to have that opportunity. With that being said, I just wanted to thank the Carolina Panthers organization, I want to thank my teammates – you guys have been amazing for 14 very special years that I will always remember [and] I will always cherish; I want to thank you guys for those.”
“To Panthers nation, I cannot thank you guys enough for the love and support that you’ve shown me and my family over the years; we can’t thank you enough….I’ve loved and cherished every moment that we’ve had in Carolina. Carolina is going to always be home for me and my family, but I’m not retiring. I feel like I have way too much football left in me to walk away from the game right now, so I want to keep playing. I’m going to keep playing.”
— Thomas Davis (@ThomasDavisSDTM) January 10, 2019
Davis, dressed fittingly in red as opposed to black and blue, continued to address the fanbase directly as he spoke into the camera, seeming to ask for forgiveness as he explained his reasoning for playing somewhere other than Charlotte in 2019; the Panthers are moving in another direction at the linebacker position as they try to get younger on defense.
“Panthers nation, just know that in no way did I ever imagine putting on another uniform. Still to this day, I don’t want to do it; but I want to play football; so if that’s the way that I going to be able to continue my career, then that’s something that I have to do and I hope you guys understand it’s not a decision that I wanted to make – but it’s a decision that I had to make.”
Davis then tried to sign off for the final time, using the ‘Keep Pounding’ mantra that had adorned the neckline of his jersey for his entire career. But before he could say his final goodbye, the video cut off.
He had run out of time.