2013 Comeback Player of the Year award: Does Thomas Davis belong in the conversation?

Kevin C. Cox

A year late maybe, but there's plenty of reasons why Davis deserves the nod.

Carolina Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis drew the short straw on bouncing back from injury, but should that prevent him from being recognized for his stellar NFL comeback? In a year lacking signature comebacks, maybe it's time to recognize No. 58.

Davis' 2013 season was nothing short of remarkable. He finished with 123 tackles, 4.0 sacks, one forced fumble and two interceptions. Undoubtedly the best of his career, and a key (albeit largely overlooked) facet to the Panthers defense. We know his exploits, but it's the other players potentially up for comeback player that complicate the issue.

At best it's a middling group: Alex Smith, Philip Rivers, possibly Darrelle Revis. All rebounded in their own way, particularly Rivers -- but Davis is a player who not only bounced back from three ACL tears, but who lifted his game into the stratosphere in 2013.

That's probably not enough, perhaps he played too well in 2012 but not recognizing Davis will be a travesty. Rather than hand it to Smith who moved from mediocre to competent, what about the full recovery of a player who likely would have never played again? It's a long shot, but it's food for thought.

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