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The Carolina Panthers Thomas Davis, This Year’s Bart Starr Award Recipient

The Bart Starr Award is awarded to the NFL player who best exemplifies outstanding character and leadership at home, on the field and in the community. Carolina Panthers Pro-Bowl linebacker Thomas Davis, who is active in supporting children’s ... Read Transcript

MALE (VOICEOVER): Inside the Carolina Panthers stadium,

the General Manager's office takes a rare and revered phone


CHERRY STARR: This is Bart Starr's wife, Cherry, calling.

MALE (VOICEOVER): Panthers linebacker, Thomas Davis,

is chosen to receive the prestigious Bart Starr

Award, exemplifying outstanding character and leadership,

at home, on the field, and in the community.

CHERRY STARR: You have to be a pretty special person

to receive this award.

What do you value most about how this award defines you?

It goes back to doing things the right way.

Being a good father.

Being a good productive citizen.

Knowing that I have young kids at home that

are watching my every move.

I have young kids in our community

that are watching everything that we do,

and they're trying to imitate us.

So that's something that I try to live my life by.

MALE (VOICEOVER): Thomas is honored

among 10 nominees, voted by his peers, both NFL

opponents and teammates, as the Award's 29th recipient.

He's that leader that you want in a locker room.

I think for all 32 teams, I can say

that if they had a Thomas Davis in there,

it would be a different team.

He impacts everyone's life in different ways.

He's got camps.

He's got back-to-school drives.

He feeds people around Thanksgiving and the holidays.

His on-the-field stuff is great.

But off the field is when you really get to see Thomas Davis.

They see what you are.

How special is that?

It's truly special.

We don't go out and do the work that we do in the community

to gain recognition.

We go out and do it because we care about the families,

and we want to make a difference.

And people understand when you're genuine,

when you're doing things that's from the heart.

So many moms that are struggling to raise their kids right now--

I watched my mom cry sometimes, struggling,

trying to raise me and my sister,

and living that-- you know that there

are people going through it, so you want to reach out.

MALE (VOICEOVER): It's been a season of reaching new heights.

The Panthers enter the playoffs with rising expectations

as the top seeded team.

At the core of their success is Thomas,

earning his first Pro Bowl appearance,

while also becoming the franchise's

all time leading tackler.

11 years in for you, Thomas, it's been a storybook ride.

Was it worth the wait?

Oh, man.

I couldn't have written the better script for things

to go the way that they have in my career.

When you think about all of the things I had to endure.

Coming off of three ACL tears, and not really

understanding or knowing if my NFL career

would be able to continue.

MALE (VOICEOVER): Three tears over three seasons,

all in the right knee.

The last in 2011.

Thomas is the only NFL player to successfully return

from three ACL injuries.

Not really knowing the team would

be willing to stick by me, a depressing time of my life.

If I didn't lean on the Lord, I never

would have made it through it.

All the times that I've had to cry on my wife's shoulder.

And we pray together, and we just

ask God to give me the strength to just continue

to fight through it.

It turns into motivation.

It turns into drive.

MALE (VOICEOVER): The guy they called TD, Thomas Davis,

is clearly the heart and soul of the NFL sixth ranked defense.

But the Panthers captain won't settle

for less, yielding to the commander of his heart

and soul.

You're now the model to follow.

So tell me, TD, who do you follow?


Without a doubt.

Trying to strive for perfection, trying

to do things the right way on a daily basis, all

the while following Christ.

Jesus Christ has changed my life in so many ways.

To send my wife my way, I would look

at that as the biggest thing that has allowed me

to become the person that I am.

We started to grow in our faith together.

MALE (VOICEOVER): Together, Thomas and Kelly

tackle hopelessness through their Defending Dreams


Leading the charge of faith, to defend the dreams

that children hold dear.

What compels you to give?

It all starts by taking that first step.

In order to accomplish anything in life, you have to step up.

It's not going to happen by you sitting back dreaming it.

If you dream it, you have to live it.

And if you're going to live it, you

have to believe in what you're doing.


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