Panthers Notebook: Davis on sideline to being final season

© Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

Davis on sideline to being final season

SPARTANBURG, S.C. -- This is supposed to be the final training camp for linebacker Thomas Davis, who had pointed out that this is his last season. But heading to retirement might not be that simple.

Davis will begin his 14th season on the NFL's suspended list for violating the league's policy on performance-enhancing substances. Already, he has made some offseason hints that he might be willing to stay around beyond this season.

"It was definitely something that was unintentional," Davis said of the violation. "It's tough for me to be potentially in the last season of my NFL career to be faced with a four-game suspension. ... I'm going to training camp and I'm going to have a good camp."

Whether that's an internal motivational factor or comes with the idea that he might avoid some wear and tear as he sits out a month of the season, is unclear.

In the meantime, there's a solid track record on the field for Davis.

"We know what Thomas can do," head coach Ron Rivera said.

--Linebacker Luke Kuechly figures he should be ready for action in training camp after being forced to sit out team activities during minicamp following shoulder surgery.

"Hopefully, once training camp comes around I'll be full-go," Kuechly said. "It feels good and everything should be on track."

Kuechly is also adjusting to a new linebackers coach with Steve Russ on board. He said Russ brought good energy during the spring and he expects the relationships between Russ and the linebackers to continue to grow.

--Gaging quarterback Cam Newton's mood has often been a fascination for team observers. Just how much he embraces changes with the offense and with the personnel around him might dictate how much he's willing to discuss team matters during the preseason.

He was mum during minicamp, so his thoughts couldn't be chronicled. He went through a rough 2017 preseason as he was coming off shoulder surgery and then there was ongoing speculation about his readiness at the start of the season.

Head coach Ron Rivera gave Newton a positive review heading toward training camp.

"You've seen the growth and development, the different set of eyes and voices have been good for him," Rivera said.