Panthers LB Thomas Davis suspended 2 games for hit on Davante Adams

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Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Carolina Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis has been suspended two games for his illegal hit on Green Bay Packers receiver Davante Adams in Sunday's game, the league announced Monday.

Davis will appeal the suspension.

"The league made a decision, you know, fortunately we have an appeals process we will go through that. Whatever happens from there, happens," he said Monday.

Davis hit a defenseless Adams, leading with his helmet, after Panthers safety Colin Jones picked off an Aaron Rodgers pass and returned it 34 yards.

Davis was penalized for the hit but remained in the game. He was fined earlier in the year for a hit againstChicagothat he appealed.

"You have been previously fined for violations of safety-related rules," NFL vice president of football operations Jon Runyan said in a letter to Davis. "Your actions yesterday warrant an escalation of discipline, not only because they were flagrant, but also because of your status as a repeat offender."

Davis is eligible to return to the Panthers' active roster on Jan. 1.

Adams lashed out at Davis on Monday, tweeting that the Panthers linebacker was "headhunting" when he led with his helmet on the blindside hit Sunday. Davis tweeted a reply to Adams, saying he "made a mistake."

Adams was able to walk off under his own power, unlike after the concussion he suffered against the Bears in Week 4, when Chicago linebacker Danny Trevathan knocked him out. Adams was taken off the field on a gurney and spent the night in the hospital but returned for the next game. Trevathan served a one-game suspension.

His concussion Sunday was Adams' third in two seasons. Packers coach Mike McCarthy said Monday evening that Adams is "doing good."

"I mean, he's in the protocol right now, but the concern is the obvious. This is his second one this year. The way that he responded has been very positive," he said.

Panthers coach Ron Rivera said earlier Monday that he did not think Davis intended to hit Adams in the head.

"If you see Thomas' reaction to the hit that he made, you know that it wasn't intentional to hit him that way," Rivera said. "It was intentional that he wanted to block him, and I just take it from the way he reacted -- he did not intend to hit him high or in the head."

Panthers defensive coordinator Steve Wilks does not believe Davis' hit against Adams warrants a suspension.

"Definitely not," Wilks said. "And I think you have to look at the person. We know Thomas is a class act. The emphasis right there was when you get an interception, you're really trying to set the wall. We put a lot of emphasis on trying to score on defense. So I don't think it was anything malicious in anything Thomas was trying to do."

McCarthy, however, said "there's no place in this game for those types of hits."

"That's been made loud and clear. That hit was totally unnecessary yesterday. So as far as any type of rule changes, what they want to add, that's obviously for future discussion. The player has been suspended. So whatever you think about that, but Davante was in a position that he shouldn't have been hit like that, and that was clear. So, I like Ron Rivera. I've always respected the play style of his football team, but that hit was a dirty hit," he said.

Shaq Thompson, Carolina's other outside linebacker, has missed the past two games with a foot injury. Thompson said on Monday he was feeling better and hoped to play Sunday againstTampa Bay, but there's a chance the Panthers could be without both starting outside linebackers if Davis has to serve the suspension.

ESPN's Rob Demovsky and David Newton contributed to this report.

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