CHARLOTTE – The harsh reality of a four-game suspension to start the season is setting in for linebacker Thomas Davis.
"It's extremely tough right now," Davis said in what will likely be his last interview before the suspension begins. "Early on I thought it would be a situation where you understand the repercussions of the situation and deal with it. But as you get closer to the season starting, you go out and play the preseason games, it just makes everything that much harder."
Davis conducted this interview at his locker, with teammates Julius Peppers, Captain Munnerlyn and Mike Adams waiting for him to join the card game taking place just a few feet away.
Being removed from the locker room environment will truly sting.
"This is unfamiliar territory for me," Davis said. "Even with the injuries, with the ACL stuff, I was still able to come over and be a part of everything. Not being able to walk through those doors to the building is going to be extremely tough.
"Just enjoying my time with my teammates – that's what I'm going to miss the most… I'm just trying to stay positive and stay a part of it as best I can."
Per NFL rules, Davis isn't allowed to keep his playbook during the suspension, but he'll be able to review his own notes. He hoped to be able to watch the home games in the stadium like a fan, but the NFL informed him that won't be permissible.
On the bright side, those tickets will be put to good use through Davis' foundation.
"As a PSL owner – I can't use my tickets. I found that out the hard way," Davis said. "Extremely disappointing to know that you spend your hard-earned money to be a PSL owner and the NFL rules state you can't use them, which I had no clue. It's tough, but there are going to be a lot of deserving kids that are going to be very excited to use those tickets."
The 35-year-old Davis has said multiple times that he wants to continue playing beyond 2018. He still has that burning desire to compete.
Being removed from it all only appears to be fanning those flames.
"As I sit and I think about me not being able to come over here, me not being able to play the games," Davis said, "it just makes me want to play even more."