To The End: Panthers Extend Veteran LB Contract Through 2017

To The End: Panthers Extend Veteran LB Contract Through 2017
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Special Report to Blowing Rock News from the Carolina Panthers. By Ryan Anderson. June 15, 2015. CHARLOTTE, NC — The Carolina Panthers have signed linebacker Thomas Davis to a two-year contract extension, the team announced Monday. Davis is now under contract with the Panthers through the 2017 season.

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“Signing this extension is something I’ve wanted to do all along and it just confirms that I now get to officially end my career as a Carolina Panther and that means the world to me,” Davis said. “I’m extremely excited about being a part of this defense and I’m looking forward to doing my part to make sure that we become the No. 1 defense in the League.”

Davis has spent his entire NFL career with the Panthers since being drafted with the 14th overall choice in the 2005 NFL Draft. Davis is the second-leading tackler in franchise history with 831, and has played in 117 regular season games with 99 starts – both team records for a linebacker.

“Thomas has been and continues to be an integral part of our team on the field and off the field,” general manager Dave Gettleman said. “His leadership is valuable and he is still playing at a high level. We’re thrilled we could get this done. He’s a lynchpin in our defense and we’re excited that he’s going to have the ability to retire as a Panther.”

In 2014, Davis tallied his third consecutive 100-tackle season, finishing with 129 tackles, 2.5 sacks, two forced fumbles, one fumble recovery and six passes defensed as the Panthers became the first team to win the NFC South in consecutive seasons. Davis was named the 2014 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year. The award recognizes a player’s off-the-field community service as well as his playing excellence.

“This shows the commitment we’ve made to Thomas and the commitment he’s made to us,” head coach Ron Rivera said. “He’s been a great part of our success and now he has the opportunity to retire as a Panther. He’s a unique individual and there really is only one Thomas Davis.”

After missing the majority of the 2009, 2010 and 2011 seasons with knee injuries, Davis has averaged 132 tackles per season over the last three years (398 from 2012-14), including a career-high 151 in 2013 when he also set or tied career-highs in sacks (four), interceptions (two) and passes defensed (eight). His contributions have helped Carolina stand as one of just three teams in the NFL to field a top 10 defense in each of the last three seasons.

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