Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis was in the same 2005 draft class as Aaron Rodgers and has had some memorable moments against the Packers quarterback.
Davis has a couple of sacks and a game-sealing interception in four career meetings with Rodgers.
But those highlight plays are not what Davis remembers most about matching up with Rodgers. Instead, it was something Rodgers said to Davis during a 2015 game in Charlotte after Davis had successfully come back from three ACL surgeries.
“I was able to rush off the edge and kind of run him down from behind,” Davis recalled Thursday. “He turned around and looked at me and (said), ‘Dang, old man, you’ve still got it.’ That was one of the things that really stands out to me from playing against Aaron.”
Rodgers, 34, was in Bank of America Stadium for a 2011 game when Davis tore the ACL in his right knee for the third time in less than two years.
Davis, 34, will get another chance to try to chase Rodgers down Sunday, when the two-time MVP returns two months after breaking his collarbone.
In a similar situation two years ago against Dallas, Davis’ hit on Tony Romo knocked the Cowboys quarterback out of the game after re-injuring his surgically repaired collarbone.
Davis says he expects the elusive Rodgers to do everything he can to make plays with his legs and avoid getting hurt again.
“I don’t think he’s going to take hits like he normally would. He’ll do a good job of getting the ball out of his hand a lot faster,” Davis said. “We’re just going to try to do a good job early in the game of getting after him and see how he’s going to be playing.”
Davis was one of the heroes the last time these teams met. His leaping interception at the Panthers’ 4-yard line snuffed out the Packers’ comeback hopes and preserved the 37-29 victory.
But Davis said defensive tackle Kawann Short deserves the credit for making Rodgers throw off his back foot.
“He got good pressure on him and with it being fourth down, it really forced his hand,” Davis said. “I was kind of Johnny-on-the-spot on that play.”