Thomas Davis, Greg Olsen return to Panthers family for retirement ceremony


FILE – In this Sunday, Nov. 24, 2019 file photo, Carolina Panthers tight end Greg Olsen (88) runs, during the second half at an NFL football game against the New Orleans Saints in New Orleans. Veteran tight end Greg Olsen is retiring from the NFL to become a broadcaster. Olsen announced Sunday, Jan. 24, 2021 that he is ending his 14-year career to join Fox as a game analyst. (AP Photo/Bill Feig, File)

CHARLOTTE – On a day when two legendary football players signed contracts to retire as football players, the things that brought them to tears often had nothing to do with football.

As Thomas Davis and Greg Olsen said their goodbyes at Bank of America Stadium Thursday, there were numerous pauses for them to dry their eyes, to pause to find the right word, as they tried to sum up a combined 30 years of football.

As Davis finished his speech, he simply stopped and looked up, awash in the enormity of it all, and didn’t say a word for a few seconds.

“I want to make this moment last as long as I can,” Davis said.

Both players had a number of stop-you-in-your-tracks moments as they looked back over their years with the Panthers (and a few stray stops for each of them). When they got to thanking their families, it got particularly difficult.

“The last time I said I wasn’t going to cry was at my wedding,” Davis said, laughing at his lack of composure as his wife Kelly looked on. “I won that day because I cut those vows short.”

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