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6 reasons why Panthers’ Thomas Davis is a really good guy

The Story

Carolinas Panther Thomas Davis won the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award — the NFL’s good guy prize — Saturday night.

6 reasons why Davis is a really good guy

(1) He and his wife, Kelly, started the Defending Dreams Foundation to help underprivileged kids. It reaches an impressive 2,000 kids annually and to date has given out more than a half million dollars. Among its offerings: youth leadership academy, after-school mentoring and college scholarships. 

(2) He also conducts a school supplies giveaway, a Thanksgiving meal for members of a women’s shelter, and a Christmas gift giveaway for children. Why? He was raised by a single mom and gets it.

(3) Davis holds a free football camp for more than 350 children.

(4)  While accepting his award Saturday night, Davis teared up and went off script, encouraging his fellow NFL athletes to do their fair share of good deeds. Read this awesomeness:

Guys in this league – take charge, step up, make a difference…. There’s so much negativity that’s going on in this league and so much that’s being reported. I just feel like we’re in a position where we can make a difference. We can do so much with the platform and the voice that we have right now. It’s up to us to take advantage of it.

Here’s the 9-minute video of that evening; Davis is named at the 2-minute mark.


(5) Davis is a comeback story. Due to three knee surgeries, Davis essentially missed all or parts of three seasons. But then he made history by becoming the first player to return to play after so many ACL operations. Last year, he posted career-high stats.

(6) He’s played his entire NFL career with the Panthers. Gotta love that.

Photos: Jeff Siner / Charlotte Observer & Michael Conroy / AP