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Sports

Panthers' Davis a finalist for NFL award
Linebacker nominated for Man of the Year
 
Published Thursday, January 23, 2014 6:03 am
by Herbert L. White

Carolina Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis is a finalist for the NFL’s top humanitarian award.

Davis is up for the Walter Payton Man of the Year award, given for a player’s off-field work in the community. Jay Feely of Arizona and Charles Tillman of Chicago are the other finalists.

Davis, who has spent his entire nine-year career with the Panthers, is the first NFL player to return to the field after three ACL reconstructions on the same knee.  He was a key cog in the second-ranked defense that pushed Carolina to the NFC South championship.  Davis set or tied career highs for tackles, sacks, interceptions and passes defensed in 2013 and was named NFC player of the month in November.

In 2007, Davis and his wife Kelly founded the Thomas Davis Defending Dreams Foundation, a non-profit that provides free programs for more than 2,000 underprivileged children.  Its Youth Leadership Academy is a 14-week afterschool mentoring program for low-income middle school students and Davis provides two college scholarships for graduating high school seniors who have completed the Leadership Academy. 

Last year, Davis paid the construction of the first and only playground in his hometown of Shellman, Ga., and his annual free football camp provides 350 children with fundamental instruction and life skills. In 2013, Davis was the Panthers’ nominee for the Byron “Whizzer” White Award, the NFL Players Association’s award for on and off the field dedication.

 

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