Sports Spectrum Magazine Summer 2021

Linebacker Thomas Davis excited to showcase talents for Los Angeles Chargers in 15th season

A year ago, linebacker Thomas Davis planned on retiring after the 2018 NFL season. But then he was suspended for the first four games of the season for violating the league’s performance-enhancing drug policy. He said the failed test came from a substance he’d used for eight years, but ultimately decided he would serve the suspension and not appeal.

That shortened season was not how Davis wanted to end his career, so he announced he wanted to play at least one more year. Unfortunately, the Carolina Panthers, who selected Davis in the first round of the 2005 draft, opted to not bring him back for a 15th season (including the one he missed in 2010 with an ACL injury).

Davis said that was “extremely tough” news to hear. However, he was “extremely excited” when it became public Tuesday that he’ll join the Los Angeles Chargers for the 2019 season after signing a two-year, $10.5 million contract.

A Pro Bowler in 2015, ’16 and ’17, Davis still started all 12 games he appeared in last season for the Panthers, totaling 79 tackles. He posted a career-high 123 tackles in 2013. All of that came after Davis returned from three ACL tears on the same knee — something no pro athlete had ever done. And in 2014, he was named the Walter Payton Man of the Year.

“God strategically set all of that up for me to win the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award, for me to be a light,” Thomas told The Increase. “Whether this has motivated one person or a thousand, it’s all been worth it and I wouldn’t change a single thing that has happened in my life. God knew that by this happening to me, I could motivate other people to continue to want to fight through the injuries or whatever else they face in life. It’s already been written; you just have to be willing to stick it out. You have to be obedient and listen to God.”

The 35-year-old will join a Chargers team that finished 12-4 last season, losing to the eventual Super Bowl-champion New England Patriots in the divisional round.

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