Carolina Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis jokes at times that he’s a “lifer” in Charlotte, and based on a report from NFL Media on Friday, he will end up as one.
Davis told the outlet’s Brooke Cersosimo that 2018 will be his final season as an NFL player, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, who tweeted the news on Friday afternoon. Davis reportedly will be in studio with the outlet this weekend.
Davis confirmed his retirement plans Friday night, according to Panthers.com.
During the team’s locker cleanout last week after a wild-card loss to the New Orleans Saints, Davis said he expects to play a “reduced role” on defense in 2018. Backup Shaq Thompson will step into a larger role.
“I'm definitely not sitting here saying that I'm conceding to becoming a backup by any means, but it was a tough year for me dealing with a bunch of injuries and not really being able to go out there and perform like I know I'm capable of performing, until like the last couple of weeks of the season when I completely felt fresh, felt healed,” he said. “I had a huge setback early in the season with the rib injury that caused a lot of problems for me. If you play this game long enough, things are going to happen to you. You just have be able to endure enough to come back from them.”
Davis, 34, was a first-round draft pick by Carolina in 2005 and has been a staple of the Panthers’ defense since. He also came back from three ACL surgeries to be an All-Pro in 2013 and 2015. He was the NFL’s Walter Payton Man of the Year in 2014, ranks seventh in Panthers franchise history with 13 interceptions and eighth in franchise history with 28 sacks.
He also has only missed three games in the last six seasons, following his third ACL repair.
Last offseason, Davis got a one-year extension that runs through the 2018 season.
The Panthers tweeted a photo of Davis shortly after the report broke, with the caption “respect.”