Carolina Panthers

Panthers LB Thomas Davis says 2018 will be his final season

(Jeremy Brevard/USA TODAY Sports)

Carolina Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis says the 2018 season will be his last.

Davis confirmed his decision during an appearance on NFL Network on Friday. While the Panthers didn’t make an official announcement, the team posted a picture of Davis on its Twitter page with the word “Respect.”

During training camp, Davis signed a one-year extension through the 2018 season with the intention of it being his last. He said at the time the deal would allow him to retire as a member of the Panthers.

“For me, it was a no-brainer,” Davis said. “Like, ‘This is how long they want me here for.’ This is how much time I have to dedicate to this organization to try to win a Super Bowl, and that’s my mindset.

“This will definitely be my last year coming up. One of the reasons is I want to continue my contractual obligations. I signed on for a one-year extension, and I want to complete that. I’ve never been a guy to quit anything, and I’m not going to start doing that now.”

Davis, 34, was Carolina’s first-round draft pick in 2005 and has spent his entire career with the Panthers. He’s seventh in team history with 13 career interceptions and eighth with 28 sacks.

In 2014, Davis was named the league’s Walter Payton Man of the Year. Sandwiched around that honor were All-Pro honors in 2013 and 2015. During the last six seasons, Davis has missed just three games despite the last of three ACL repairs.

Davis, who will turn 35 in March, is Carolina’s all-time leading tackler with 1,015. He had 76 tackles this season, the first time since 2011.

He said Monday, after the Panthers lost an NFC wild-card game against the New Orleans Saints, that he planned to honor the final year of his contract but likely wouldn’t be an every-down player as he has been.

“Being in my 13th year, I’m pretty sure coming back next year that it will be in a reduced role,” Davis said. “Shaq [Thompson] has definitely earned the right, and when you look at [David] Mayo, he’s coming along. Obviously we still have Luke [Kuechly] here who is playing at an extremely high level.

“So we’ll see. We’ll see how it goes.”

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