Thomas Davis spent 14 seasons in Carolina. He will play somewhere else if he plays a 15th.
The Panthers informed the linebacker early last month they were not bringing him back.
He now finds himself entering free agency for the first time.
“I’m a little nervous about it, but looking forward to it,” Davis said on SiriusXM NFL Radio. “For me, I’ve been around this league a long time, and I understand that this is a business. Guys don’t really last that long on one team anymore. Ever since the whole free agency thing started back in the ‘90s, guys don’t really stay on the same team for the duration of their careers unless you’re a quarterback.”
Davis started 158 games for the Panthers, totaling 1,111 tackles, 28 sacks and 13 interceptions after they made him the 14th overall choice in 2005.
“For me, I kind of took it personally when I first heard the news, but after a week or so, I understood,” Davis said. “I understand that it’s the business, and now I’m just really looking forward to really going out and showing another team what I’m capable of still doing as a football player.
“The passion is still burning inside of me to continue to play this game. As I reflect and look on last season, obviously as a football team, it didn’t go the way that we wanted it to go. I feel like I still have a lot left to offer to this game. I missed four games; we all know about the PED suspension that I had to serve at the beginning of the season, and I was able to have more tackles and be more productive as a football player missing four games than I did playing 15 games the year before. I think that, in itself, does really speak to my ability to still be able to play this game and I’m looking forward to having a great year for whoever decides to give me a chance.”