Thomas Davis' quotes from the article from the Official Panthers' site are very positive, and perhaps most importantly, do not suggest that he's at all considering playing anywhere else. This is excellent news Panther fans. A fully rehabbed and healthy TD is a dominant force at the WILL Linebacker position. I'm certain you'll also enjoy what he had to say about the new Coach in town.
After being drafted in the first round (14th pick) in 2005 as a hard hitting safety from Georgia, Davis struggled in his first few years trying to figure out just what the coaches wanted him to do. Was he a safety, or was he a linebacker? In 2009, he had it figured out and was playing at a pro bowl level before an ACL injury against the Saints. Then, of course, his 2010 comeback was derailed by the same injury during OTA's (but not until he proudly ran a 40 yard time of 4.47). The scary thing about both of these injuries was they were not the result of contact. In both cases, he was back-pedaling and the knee just popped on him.
Make no mistake though, a healthy Thomas Davis, alongside pro-bowler Jon Beaston, James Anderson, and perhaps Dan Connor at times; turns our already great corps of LBs into perhaps the best in the league, certainly among 4-3 base sets.
Prior to his injury in 2009, Davis was amazing. In less than 7 complete games, he had racked up 61 tackles (48 solo), 2 sacks, 2.5 tackles for loss, 2 picks, 6 passes defensed, and a safety. There is simply no doubt that had he kept up that pace he was probowl bound, and very likely an All Pro selection.
Davis said he's looking forward to playing for head coach Ron Rivera, who was a linebacker on some stout Chicago Bears defenses in the mid-1980s. With Davis' rehab schedule keeping him at Bank of America Stadium more than most of his teammates, he's had plenty of time to get to know the Panthers' new coach.
"He's going to be a very intense guy, a guy who is going to demand a lot from his players – especially on the defensive side of the ball because he's been around defenses for so long," Davis said. "I think he's going to make us extremely, extremely good on defense. I'm really looking forward to that."
He also talked about his progress in getting his knee back to full strength:
"I'm doing fine. I'm in a position now where I'm just trying to make sure my knee is as strong as it possibly can be, and I think we've been able to accomplish that," Davis said. "Once we get out there, I'm going to start out with a brace on just to make sure everything is structurally sound, and from then on I'm just going to continue my career.
"I think I've had so much time to rehab and prepare that I'm not even going to think about (the injury) once I'm out there."
After TD went down in '09, Na'il Diggs had this to say:
"I haven't seen another one like him on any team I've played on," Diggs said. "Just flat out crazy talent, crazy athleticism." - Associated Press
Let's hope the TD we lost is the one we get back next year, pray that he stays healthy, and that his prediction for our defense is on target. I'm almost as excited to get TD back as he is to be coming back.