Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis is retiring after the 2018 season

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Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis said this week that he expects to play a reduced role in the team's defense during the 2018 season and he won't wait around for that role to grow even smaller in 2019.

BC-FBN-Panthers-Davis Retirement, 242Carolina LB Davis announces retirement following 2018 seasonEds: APNewsNow.

The Panthers were eliminated from postseason play by the New Orleans Saints this year, but they have a squad that could return to the playoffs next year. "I had a huge setback early in the season with the rib injury that caused a lot of problems for me".

Davis, 34, was a first-round draft pick by Carolina in 2005 and has been a staple of the Panthers' defense since.

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Davis played in and started 15 games this season, only missing Carolina's December 24 game against Tampa Bay while serving a suspension for an illegal hit in the previous week's game.

According to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com, Davis told a reporter that the 2018 season will be the final season of his career. I signed on for a one-year extension, and I want to complete that. Davis said he had hoped for a two-year extension at the time, but the team preferred just one year.

In 2014, Davis was named the NFL's Walter Payton Man of the Year.

He finished 2017 with 76 tackles (five for loss), 2.5 sacks and seven QB hits. Over the course of his career Thomas has 1,019 tackles to his credit, along with 28 sacks and 13 interceptions.

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