CHARLOTTE - Linebacker Thomas Davis, who made pivotal plays all over the field in the Panthers' Week 6 victory at the Minnesota Vikings, has been recognized as NFC Defensive Player of the Week.
"I'm definitely excited about it," Davis said. "It's the first time in nine years to get an honor like this, but it's definitely a team honor the way I see it. Our defensive line demanded such attention, and the coaches put me in position to make plays."
Davis recorded 10 tackles and a career-high two sacks to help the Panthers roll to a 35-10 victory. In the process, Davis became the third player in team history to record 600 tackles, a remarkable feat on its own but even more so given that many doubted he'd ever be productive again following three knee surgeries.
Davis is believed to be the first NFL player to successfully return from three torn anterior cruciate ligaments in the same knee, in his case the right knee. And Davis didn't just simply return: Last season, after having missed 39 of the Panthers' 41 games since he suffered the initial injury midway through the 2009 season, he recorded the second-highest tackle total of his career and on the team with 118.
He has now made 17 consecutive starts beginning in Week 5 of the 2012 season. During that time, Davis is averaging 9.4 tackles per game according to coaches' film review with eight double-digit tackle games.
"A lot of people thought it was over for me. A lot of people thought I should retire," Davis said. "So to go out and have a day like Sunday means a lot to me."
Davis is the second Panther to earn NFC Defensive Player of the Week this season – defensive end Greg Hardy was honored in Week 3 – and the sixth Panther linebacker to earn NFC Defensive Player of the Week honors. Teammate Luke Kuechly was the last, winning it in Week 14 last year. Just one Panthers linebacker, Sam Mills, has won the honor more than once.