LB Davis announces retirement following 2018 season

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Linebacker Thomas Davis on Friday night announced the 2018 season will be his last.

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

Davis, who will turn 35 in March, signed in training camp a one-year extension through the 2018 season with the intention of it being his last. He wants to follow through with his contract, which got an extension earlier last offseason.

Davis told NFL.com's Brooke Cersosimo of his plans, and the Panthers tweeted the following picture shortly thereafter. While the Panthers didn't make an official announcement, the team posted a picture of Davis on its Twitter page with the word "Respect".

His career has been one of persevering through injuries, having been the first player in league history to recover from three ACL tears.

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"For me, it was a no-brainer", Davis said. "Shaq [Thompson] has definitely earned the right, and when you look at [David] Mayo, he's coming along".

A two-time Pro Bowler and Walter Payton Man of the Year in 2014, Davis will leave a lasting legacy on the Panthers organization.

Davis had said this week that he expects his role to be reduced next season, and he anticipated that it would be reduced further in 2019.

He has 1,015 career tackles, 28 sacks, 13 interceptions, 18 forced fumbles and 9 fumble recoveries.

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