CHARLOTTE – When linebacker Thomas Davis talks about wanting to win a Super Bowl, he doesn't talk about what it would mean to him or his legacy.
He talks about what it would mean for Panthers Owner/Founder Jerry Richardson.
"We want to put a Super Bowl ring on Mr. Richardson's finger," Davis said. "There was a promise that I made to him, and I'm trying to stay true to that promise.
"That's one of the reasons why I'm so focused on doing everything that's within my power day in and day out to make sure that we're a good football team, and I think, across the board, guys are looking at it the same way. Cam (Newton), that's one of his goals. That's something that he wants to do. Luke (Kuechly), he wants to do the same thing. We've all bought into that, and that's really the mindset, trying to get that ring for him."
Davis and the Panthers almost fulfilled that promise last season, but a memorable 15-1 season ended with a loss to the Broncos in Super Bowl 50.
"It felt like we were going to get it done last year, but we came up short," Davis said. "That's the real good thing about this team and about this game. We're going to have an opportunity this year, and we just have to take care of our business."
Davis knows better than anyone how fragile opportunities in this league can be.
Many thought Davis' career was over after he tore his right ACL three times in three years. Not Richardson.
He gave Davis another opportunity to come back and continue playing. Davis successfully recovered and went on to become one of the best outside linebackers in the NFL following his third surgery.
He's forever grateful for the faith Richardson showed in him. He's hell-bent on repaying it with a ring.
"As a player that's been here as long as I've been here, you want to be a part of that group that brings that to him," Davis said. "Knowing that he's that person that believed in me, that said he's giving me another shot after everything I've been through personally, that's definitely something that I want to be a part of."