Panthers' Thomas Davis to retire after 2018 season

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Carolina Panthers outside linebacker Thomas Davis has played all 13 of his National Football League seasons with the franchise that drafted him in the first round back in 2005.

Davis, 34, was a first-round draft pick by Carolina in 2005 and has been a staple of the Panthers' defense since. Davis said on NFL Network.

Davis told NFL.com's Brooke Cersosimo of his plans, and the Panthers tweeted the following picture shortly thereafter.

Prior to the start of 2017, he signed a one-year extension to remain with the team through next season. "Shaq (Thompson) has definitely earned the right, and when you look at (David) Mayo, he's coming along", Davis said on the Panthers' website".

The linebacker turns 35 in March, and has battled back from three ACL tears.

Davis was the 2014 Walter Payton Man of the Year for his work with the Thomas Davis Defending Dreams Foundation.

During the team's locker cleanout last week after a wild-card loss to the New Orleans Saints, Davis said he expects to play a "reduced role" on defense in 2018.

He racked up 76 tackles and 2.5 sacks this past season.

Davis has 13 interceptions and 18 forced fumbles in his career, and he'll be hard to replace for Carolina after the 2018 season.

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