GREEN BAY – Carolina Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis was suspended for two games Monday by the NFL for his helmet-to-helmet hit on Green Bay Packers receiver Davante Adams during their game Sunday.
In a letter to Davis, NFL vice president of football operations Jon Runyan wrote that the linebacker violated a rule that prohibits unnecessary contact against a player who is in a defenseless position.
“During an interception return, you took a path toward your opponent who was pursuing the play and delivered a violent and unnecessary blindside block to his head and neck area,” Runyan wrote. “You have been previously fined for violations of safety-related rules. 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 will be eligible to return to Carolina’s active roster Monday, Jan. 1, after the Panthers’ regular-season finale at Atlanta. He likely will appeal the suspension and seek a reduction.
Adams suffered his second concussion of the season when Davis leveled him with a blindside block after an interception thrown by Aaron Rodgers. Davis was flagged on the play, and television cameras showed him visibly distraught on the sideline.
“He’s doing good,” Packers coach Mike McCarthy said of Adams. “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.
“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.
“But if you look at where we are today as (compared to) where we were five years ago, and if you look at where we are today as (compared to) where we were 10 years ago, I think everybody would agree that there’s definitely been a ton of positive progress.”
Adams suffered his first concussion of the year in September when Chicago Bears linebacker Danny Trevathan delivered a helmet-to-helmet blow. Adams was taken off the field on a gurney and spent a night in the hospital.
Trevathan also drew a two-game suspension, like Davis, but it was reduced to one game on appeal.
This was Adams’ third concussion in the last 14 months. Adams is in the concussion protocol and must receive medical clearance from an independent neurologist before he can return to action.
McCarthy was non-committal when asked if Adams could return to the field this season.
“That’s a medical decision,” McCarthy said. “I’m, you know, we talked about him briefly today and talked to the trainers last night on the plane, but we’re going to be smart. We’re not going to take any chances. I mean, it’s, you know, they don’t make it through the protocol if there’s any risk involved. I mean, they’re not going to come out of that protocol unless they’re ready to play in the game.”