It was June, and Thomas Davis was being laughed at.
Sometimes, your resolve becomes enough to overcome anything. If
there's a sentence that describes Thomas Davis, I think that's the one -
the details about his journey are all footnotes.
When Davis said Carolina could be the league's best defense, fans
outside the Carolinas laughed. They pointed at the secondary, the lack
of stars, the lack of proof. Davis isn't laughing now - he probably
never looked back to see what anyone thought of just such a thing.
Carolina's #1 in points, #3 in yards after spending much of the season
#2 in both. Looking at how the Chiefs have been playing lately,
Carolina has a solid shot at both #1 slots soon.
Davis believed it, and it happened. It's not that easy - it takes luck
(Star Lotulelei falling, for instance, and Mike Mitchell somehow going
from middling SS in need of replacement, to high-level FS at just the
right time), and skill. You can't just 'want it more'.
But I'd be willing to say Davis does want it more. The first player to
come back from 3 ACL surgeries in consecutive years, Davis had to really
want to play. No one had ever done it.
Davis had to want it to dislocate his finger badly enough that bone
stuck out, and not miss a play. He didn't miss a single down. Only
Davis knows what he had to play through, and whether he had to suffer
through some plays before stitches.
Other guys have suffered through it - Davis' injury came early in the
first quarter, Greg Hardy's thumb tore open before the half, Mike
Mitchell played through a hamstring injury. The prior week, Charles
Johnson limped onto the field for the final series with a sprained MCL.
But Davis - He didn't miss a play. At the end of the game, with
teammates celebrating a win, Davis just rested. Spent.
And it's safe to say no one's laughing.