The Super Bowl is tough. Especially losing in the Super Bowl, which the Carolina Panthers found out on Sunday night. It takes a lot of blood, sweat and tears to get there and finish the job. And because of this, more often than not, guys are going to play through injuries in order to see the field in the Super Bowl.
That’s exactly what Carolina’s veteran linebacker Thomas Davis did, just 13 days after having surgery on his broken arm. He played Super Bowl 50 with a surgically-repaired arm––metal plate, screws, the whole deal. His arm actually looked just like a football:
Davis made seven combined tackles in the 24-10 Super Bowl loss, giving him 53 combined tackles and 2.0 sacks in 10 career postseason games. Overall, in the 32-year old’s 10-year NFL career (all in Carolina), Davis has accumulated 850 total tackles, 23.0 sacks, 17 forced fumbles, 10 interceptions and 42 passes defensed from the linebacker position. He’s started 115 games, and played in 133 total regular season games.
The All-Pro linebacker has accomplished so much in his decade-long career.
But with that has come a number of alarming injuries, in addition to his most recent broken arm. Davis is the only pro athlete to come back from three torn ACLs in the same knee, and it was three consecutive seasons (2009-11) in which he tore it.
With the new trend of retiring early––Patrick Willis, Marshawn Lynch, Calvin Johnson, etc. etc.––you’ve gotta think that there’s a slight chance Davis could hang the cleats up this off-season. At least, if I’m Davis, that’s what I would be doing. Ten years down the road he’ll likely need a cane to walk on that knee of his, and very well could be in pain on a daily basis.
He’s at the top of his game, but at 32 years old retirement must be in the back of Thomas Davis’ mind. For the sake of his long-term health.
Photo: Patrick Smith/Getty Images