Carolina Panthers coach Ron Rivera has been banging the table for a couple of years to get outside linebacker Thomas Davis in the running for postseason accolades.
So Rivera was pumped this week to learn Davis is leading the Pro Bowl balloting at his position and is one of a dozen nominees for Sports Illustrated’s Sportsman of the Year.
“Now he’s starting to get the recognition and the notoriety, and he deserves it,” Rivera said Thursday. “Based on the way he’s played the last three seasons – coming back from a third knee (surgery) – it’s about time.”
Davis said he’s a fan of a lot of the other athletes on the list, including NBA MVP and former Charlotte Christian and Davidson standout Stephen Curry. Davis laughed when asked if American Pharoah should be considered a sportsman.
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“The horse won the Triple Crown, what are you talking about?” Davis said.
Panthers cornerback Josh Norman, who owns several horses, was conflicted on whether he would pick his teammate over Pharoah.
“I love T.D., but that darn American Pharoah. Hey man, there ain’t been a horse like that in I don’t know how long,” Norman said, also mentioning Secretariat, Sea Biscuit and Man o’ War.
Norman had an idea on how Davis and Pharoah could race.
“I’ll give Thomas about half of the track (as a head-start) and then I’ll let Pharoah go and we’ll see who makes it there first,” Norman said, laughing. “That would be cool to watch.”