Carolina Panthers nickel back Leonard Johnson joked about bringing a class-action lawsuit against linebacker Thomas Davis seeking damages for the three teammates Davis has injured this season with so-called “friendly fire.”
Davis responded Wednesday by making no apologies for his aggressive style of play, and reminded reporters that a former teammate inadvertently caused Davis to tear his ACL for a third time in 2012.
In a Week 2 game against Green Bay that season, ex-defensive tackle Terrell McClain rolled on the back of Davis’ right leg and ended Davis’ season.
“You just really have to understand it is a part of the game. You just have to continue to play the game. You can’t worry about that,” Davis said. “I’ve been a victim of it myself. My third ACL injury was from friendly fire. It’s part of the game.”
During the third quarter of last week’s victory over New Orleans, Johnson took a cleat to the chest from Saints receiver Brandin Cooks. Davis came in to finish off Cooks and slammed into Johnson’s shoulder, injuring his AC joint.
Johnson was rushed to the hospital with chest, shoulder and rib injuries. He has yet to practice this week and is expected to be sidelined at least one game.
“You never want to go out and cause bodily harm to any of your teammates. But Leonard understands,” Davis said. “When you have guys that are flying around - trying to be aggressive and make plays on this defense and on offense as well - things like that are going to happen.”
There’s been speculation Davis also contributed to middle linebacker Luke Kuechly’s concussion with a glancing blow to the back of Kuechly’s helmet. But Davis says he thinks Kuechly’s initial collision with Saints running back Tim Hightower – who struck Kuechly in the facemask, chin and chest with his helmet – did the damage.
“He took a blow early on from the running back and I think that might have caused it,” Davis said. “I don’t think it was from the contact from me because it wasn’t a whole lot of contact.”