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Panthers LB Thomas Davis open to playing in 2019

After stating in January that 2018 would "definitely be my last year," Carolina Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis did a little backtracking Thursday.

Davis told reporters he is "very open" to the possibility of extending his playing career into 2019, via the Panthers' official website.

The four-game suspension he will serve to start the 2018 regular season appears to have a role in the veteran linebacker's decision-making process.

"It's tough for me to potentially be in the last season of my NFL career, to be faced with a four-game suspension," Davis told reporters. "But I'm just going to take it in stride, take advantage of the time I do have here with my teammates -- OTAs, minicamp process. We are going to go to training camp. We are going to have a good camp and just looking forward to doing that."

The 35-year-old Davis enters the final year of his contract, but has remained highly productive as an essential member of the Panthers' defense.

Over the past three seasons, Davis has been named to three consecutive Pro Bowls and was a first-team All-Pro selection in 2015.

"It's important for me to come out each and every day and show that I'm still capable of playing," Davis said, via the Panthers' website. "When you look at the body of work over the OTA and minicamp process, I think that I've proven without a doubt that I can still play this game.

"I'm still out here running around and moving just as fast as any of our young guys. That's kind of how I judge myself."

Thursday marked the first time Davis addressed the media since the NFL in early April announced his suspension for violating the league's policy on performance-enhancing substances.

Davis emphasized the circumstances surrounding his suspension were unintentional, but he didn't duck accountability for his actions.

"Ultimately, we're responsible for what we put in our bodies as players and that's something I have to know," Davis told reporters.

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