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Legend of the Game: Stephen Davis

Stephen Davis

CHARLOTTE — This week's Panthers Legend of the Game is former running back Stephen Davis. 

The Spartanburg, S.C.-native came back to play for his home team from 2003-2005, proving the physical running style that became the backbeat of an offense that made it to Super Bowl XXXVIII.

Davis ran for 1,444 yards and eight touchdowns in 2003, providing the ballast for a team starting a new quarterback (Jake Delhomme) with a pair of Pro Bowl-level receivers (Muhsin Muhammad and Steve Smith).

Davis will be recognized in the third quarter and will hit the Keep Pounding drum, giving the fans a chance to get on their feet and share in the moment with one of the team's all-time greats. caught up with Davis this week to talk about his past with the team and what it all means now.

Stephen Davis

Q: What does it mean to come back and be recognized as the Legend of the Game?

Davis: "It's big. This brings back a sense of the traditions of this team and the guys who have been around here for a minute. It also helps connect the guys who have been here and who have won some games connect with this team and let them know that we're still around and still supporting them in what they're doing.

Q: This is the 20th anniversary of the 2003 team that went to the Super Bowl? Are there specific memories that stand out about that year, and what you guys were able to accomplish?

Davis: That was a team that won so many games by a field goal, so many games. It was just a group that never gave up. 

I remember that game against Peyton Manning and the Colts. Both teams were undefeated at the time, and that was a moment when we realized something was happening here (the Panthers won that game 23-20 to move to 5-0). And then, being able to play against Washington and Steve Spurrier, score a touchdown, and win that game obviously meant a lot (Davis scored the game-winning touchdown with 1:09 left in the game against his former team).

Stephen Davis

Q: You were here recently for Muhsin Muhammad's and Julius Peppers' induction into the Hall of Honor. What does it mean to be here and maintain that kind of connection with your former teammates?

Davis: "I mean, being able to play in a Super Bowl with those guys, it was amazing to be here to see them get that kind of honor. Being able to come back and the stories we share, we're always going to have that bond, and nobody can ever take that away from us."

Q: This week is the Keep Pounding game, and as a member of that 2003 team, you were there for the legendary Sam Mills speech that became the team's mantra. What do you remember about that?

Davis: "I'm getting chills on my body right now just thinking about it. Sam was a guy who didn't speak much, but when he did, everybody listened. And for us to know that he was sick and what he was going through, and for him to share that message right before the Cowboys playoff game, was something you never forget.

"We played with our hearts more than our abilities that day, and it means a lot that 20 years later, Keep Pounding is still there."

Q: So what's Stephen Davis doing these days?

Davis: Mostly just raising grandkids and enjoying life. I still own a trucking company, and we do some work renovating houses, but mostly just running around with these three grandbabies. That keeps me busy.

In addition to being recognized during the game, Davis will appear at a pregame autograph signing sponsored by Ticketmaster. Come by the 500-level northeast sky deck at 11:30 a.m. until 12 noon to get a chance to meet a true Panthers Legend.

Stephen Davis

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