The Carolina Panthers went down swinging on Sunday night, and it’s certain that at least one member of their defense left it all on the field.
Despite suffering a broken arm in the NFC Championship and having 12 screws and a plate surgically inserted just 13 days ago, Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis still suited up and took to the gridiron on Sunday night. He made seven tackles, with one for a loss.
THAT is freakin’ astonishing because underneath his arm sleeve, his arm looked LIKE THIS…
*WARNING IT’S KINDA GRAPHIC*
Talk about playing through pain and leaving it all on the field.
The Charlotte Observer spoke with the dude who’s way tougher than I’ll ever be, and his defensive coordinator after the heartbreaking loss in San Francisco on Sunday.
“I’m fine,” Davis said after the game. “It’s one of those things where you go into the game with a game plan. We executed it from a body standpoint. The trainers did an amazing job of making sure I was ready to go and I didn’t have any issues during the game.”
But there was doubt for at least a little while that he would even play Sunday after he broke his forearm in the NFC Championship Game two weeks ago against the Arizona Cardinals. Davis had surgery the next day, during which a plate and several screws were inserted in his arm.
“I thought I played fine,” said Davis. “I had no issues. I went out and just did what I could do. I didn’t hurt my team.”
“He played great,” said Panthers rookie linebacker Shaq Thompson. “With a broken arm, I don’t know if anyone else would be playing like that.”
Said Panthers defensive coordinator Sean McDermott: “(For him) to go out there 13 days out of surgery, he’s just a warrior. He’s one of our leaders on and off the field, so I’m extremely proud of what Thomas has done for this organization and this defense. That’s who we are. That’s our identity and I’m very proud to be associated with a man like Thomas Davis.”
Davis is no stranger to coming back from injury. He is believed to be the only player in NFL history to return to play after having three anterior cruciate ligament surgeries.
So a Super Bowl loss, while disappointing, is not something Davis thinks the Panthers can’t recover from.
“We know what it took to get to this point,” Davis said. “We have a lot of work to do this offseason. It’s never easy. It’s never easy to just say you’re going to be back. We have to go out there and we have to work. That’s what we did all season long. It’s really tough to be sitting in this situation, with the kind of season we had. We just came up short.
“We’re still a relatively young football team. We’re all going to stay together as a team.”
I think there’s little doubt the Panthers defense will again be a force to be reckoned with next season. Especially with guys as tough as Thomas Davis.
[h/t Charlotte Observer, 24/7 Sports]