Linebacker Thomas Davis Sr. will sign a one-day contract next week to officially retire as a Carolina Panther.
Davis, 37, had initially announced his retirement in December prior to his final regular-season game with the Washington Football Team. He was released by the team Wednesday, although he was scheduled to become a free agent in two weeks.
Tight end Greg Olsen will join Davis in retiring as Panthers on March 11. The pair were teammates from 2011-18 and both are ending their successful NFL careers this year.
“The time has finally come and I want to thank each and every one of you for supporting me along this journey. The Washington Football Team has agreed to release me so that on March 11th, I will officially be returning to the place that my heart has been all along,” Davis announcing the news on Instagram. By signing a one day contract, I will retire from the @nfl as a Carolina Panther. @panthers thank you from the bottom of my heart for this opportunity.”
The 16-year NFL veteran was selected by the Panthers 14th overall in the 2005 NFL draft out of Georgia. After originally coming in as a reserve safety and linebacker, he transitioned to the linebacker position in 2006 and became a full-time starter. He is a Walter Payton Man of the Year award winner (2014) and the 2016 Bart Starr Award recipient, an award which is given annually to an NFL player who exemplifies character and leadership on and off the field.
He made three Pro Bowl appearances (2015-17) and was named First Team All-Pro in 2015, when the Panthers made their Super Bowl run.
Davis was in Carolina from 2005-18 and is among the most beloved and toughest players in the franchise’s history.
The linebacker set records for his ability to battle back from injury. Davis is the only NFL player to come back and play a full season after tearing his ACL three times in the same knee, which is also noted on the cleats. From the 2012 season on, he played in at least 12 games of every season until this year.
Davis, 37, contemplated ending his career after the 2018 season, however, he ultimately decided he wanted to continue playing. The Panthers elected to part ways despite his desire to remain in Carolina. He played the 2019 season with the Los Angeles Chargers, starting all 16 games. For the 2020 season, Davis reunited with Ron Rivera, but only played in seven games.
He and his family, including his wife, Kelly, remain closely tied to the area. The pair started the Defending Dreams Foundation, which continues to help the Charlotte community.