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Being straight man for comic feeds Thomas Davis' interest in TV career

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- One could argue that for Carolina Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis, playing next to Luke Kuechly is like being the straight man in a comedy routine.

Kuechly gets a large percentage of the accolades, which in comedy equates to delivering the punch line and getting the laughs.

Davis is more of the role player, often overshadowed even though his performance is just as critical.

But together they arguably are the best tandem in the NFL, like the Abbott and Costello of linebackers -- or for younger audiences, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler.

So when Davis recently was asked to be the straight man for comedian Ben Schwartz in the webisode series "Courtyard Camera," it wasn’t an unfamiliar role.

"Man, it was super funny," Davis said. "I had a good time doing that."

Davis is spending a lot of time in front of the camera lately. He appeared this past Sunday as a guest analyst on "NFL Gameday" to set up the wild-card games. He has several things planned for Super Bowl week in Houston.

At 33, unsure if he will play past the 2017 season as he approaches the final year of his contract, a career in television is something Davis is considering for his post-football career.

"It’s definitely something that you work at, especially when it’s a live situation," Davis said. "I was able to do the network shows on Sunday. I felt pretty comfortable being around those guys and having a chance to talk football. That was fun.

"And doing the webisode video with Ben was fun. If it keeps going like this and being this fun, I think I’ll search for an opportunity when I’m done."

Davis, the 2014 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year, was a good straight man for Schwartz. One of the stars on "Parks and Recreation," Schwartz focused on whether Davis is as nice as his reputation indicates.

He went through a series of scenarios, finally asking Davis if he had to travel two train rides away to pick up medicine for him, would he do it.

"Not that nice," Davis deadpanned. "I’m am not that nice.’

At one point during the routine, Davis grabbed Schwartz by the arm. Schwartz asked if Davis was impressed that he just felt bone.

Said Davis: "I was really nervous."

Schwartz followed that with: "Have you ever seen a skeleton dance before?"

Davis laughed as Schwartz jiggled his upper body and said, "Is that what it would look like?"

OK, it wasn’t a routine ready for Charlotte’s "Comedy Zone," where Davis frequents with his wife on date night.

But Davis will take any practical experience he can get in front of the camera, where he admittedly always has felt comfortable.

"Just like playing football, the more practice you have at something, the better you become at it," Davis said. "I just use all of this time I have right now as practice."

For now, Davis’ primary focus is on football and being Kuechly’s sidekick, which off the field doesn’t always include being the straight man.

"Luke is quite the prankster," Davis said of the 2013 NFL Player of the Year. "I can’t let him pull jokes on me and not get him back. We kind of go at each other from time to time."