SPARTANBURG, S.C. – Linebacker Thomas Davis isn't showing any signs of slowing down at the advanced football age of 32, but he will display a sign of his age on the back of his jersey this season.
The back of his jersey will read "Davis Sr" at the prompting of his 7-year-old son, also named Thomas.
"My son's playing football now, and he's been bugging me about it," Davis said. "He has ‘Davis Jr' on the back of his jersey, and once he started playing, he started questioning why I don't have ‘Sr' on the back of mine.
"So I went to (equipment manager) Jackie (Miles) and asked him if something could be done."
It's another bit of news at the end of a newsworthy offseason that began with Davis being named Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year on the eve of the Super Bowl and delivering an acceptance speech that the league has embraced as a call to action in the community.
Davis stayed out in the community, continuing to make a daily impact through his Defending Dreams Foundation. He also had the rare opportunity to announce the Panthers' first-round pick at the NFL Draft and on the lighter side joined some fellow NFL players on "Celebrity Family Feud."
"It was an amazing offseason with a lot of opportunities that started with winning the Walter Payton Man of the Year award," Davis said. "I couldn't have scripted this offseason to go better than it has gone. The whole time, I never lost sight of the task at hand and the season coming up."
Davis stayed in shape in advance of training camp, and now he's excited about the shape the Panthers are in as they begin their quest for a third consecutive NFC South championship.
"There's a different energy because we feel like we're a much better team than we have been the last two years," Davis said. "We were able to win the division with the teams that we did have, and now with the additions that we've made, we feel like it's definitely going to put us in a better position.
"But at the end of the day, it really boils down to the work we do in training camp. It's really going to be up to us to determine how the season goes, and it's all about putting the work in."