There has been a lot of news swirling around linebacker Thomas Davis in the past six months. Starting with the one (originally two) game suspension for his hit on Green Bay Packers receiver Davante Adams at the end of the 2017 season followed by the announcement that 2018 would be his last year in the NFL and finally, a four-game suspension to start the 2018 season after testing positive for a banned substance in April; Davis has found himself at the center of a lot of question marks from both media and fans.
As the final Panthers spring practice wrapped up Thursday, Davis broke his silence regarding his PED suspension, touching upon the influence he has as a professional athlete on others, especially kids – the fact that he had spent the day with Make-A-Wish Kid Kyleigh Dean wasn’t lost on him; Davis, accepting the responsibilities of his actions going into his final year, echoed his original comments of this being completely unintentional and not against the grain of his typical offseason routine.
“I’m open and honest with kids about it, It definitely was something that was unintentional. It wasn’t something I was doing deliberately,” he said. “Sometimes in life things happen that are totally out of your control. When you’re taking something that you’ve used for long, long periods of time you don’t expect it to be any different results.”
Davis said that he’s taken the substance that ultimately produced the positive test for estrogen blockers, a banned substance, for the past eight years.
“The way things work when you have situations like that it’s important to be able to test and review the product that you’re actually taking; with the way the NFL drug testing is set up, you really don’t find out as a player until a month or two after you’ve actually failed a test. It’s hard to go back and test that particular product that you’ve taken – I’m not saying it’s the league’s fault that I don’t know what product it was in. Ultimately, as I said in the video that I made, we’re responsible for what we put in our body as players. That’s something I have to know.”
The 2014 Walter Payton Man of The Year, who has had three ACL surgeries throughout his career, can practice with the team throughout training camp but must be away from team facilities not only during the first four weeks of the season but also the bye week, said that he will “probably practice harder” than the players at the facility during his suspension, but he hinted that the shortened 2018 season may not be his last.
Davis has shown little to no decline on the field making the Pro Bowl for the last three seasons and still playing at a high, consistent level, which isn’t surprising with recent newcomers like Shaq Thompson and David Mayo making sure he doesn’t get too comfortable with his starting spot – although he stated unequivocably that next year would be his last, is he continuing to walk that statement back after hinting that it might not be the case?
“It’s important for me to come out each and every day and show that I’m still capable of playing,” Davis said. “I think when you look at the body of work over the OTA and minicamp process and period, I have proven without a doubt that I can still come out and play the game. I’m still out here running around, moving just as fast as any of our young guys. That is somewhat how I judge myself. When we bring new guys in, see how I stack up against them.”
He was then asked again if he was open to playing after the 2018 season, and he wasn’t shy about answering.
“I’m very open, you haven’t been listening. I’m very open to the possibility of playing.”