Panthers Ron Rivera can't see Thomas Davis retiring after 2017

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The two-year extension that outside linebacker Thomas Davis signed with the Carolina Panthers on Monday may not be his last with the team that drafted him in 2005.

Coach Ron Rivera said on Tuesday he can't see Davis, 32, retiring after the extension ends in 2017.

"I really can't," Rivera said. "Knowing him, it'll be, 'We'll see how I am every year?' ... I know we talked about he's going to retire a Panther. Maybe in three, four or five years, knowing him. As long as he stays healthy he's got a great chance to extend his career."

Davis wouldn't speculate on when he will retire. But the former Georgia star firmly believes the time he lost recovering from three separate surgeries on his right anterior cruciate ligament between 2009 and 2011 extended his career by a few years.

The 2014 NFL Walter Payton Man of the Year Award winner is driven by the one thing he believes is missing on his resume.

"A Super Bowl," Davis said. "That's a no-brainer. That's something we haven't accomplished ever around here, and something we're working towards. I don't look for individual stuff ... Pro Bowls, none of that stuff really matters.

"At the end of the day, if I can walk away from this team and from this organization with a Super Bowl ring that would mean more to me than any of the individual awards."

That Davis has the opportunity to do that with the team that drafted him with the 14th overall pick in '05 makes it all the more meaningful.

He's watched other top Carolina players, from defensive end Julius Peppers to wide receivers Steve Smith and Muhsin Muhammad, move to other teams before the end of their careers. That the extension allows him to finish where he began, Davis said, is "truly a blessing."

Rivera said Davis has been given an opportunity to end his career at Carolina because "he is a very special football player," because there's not a concern that Davis' production will fall off.

"Just right now it's a unique situation," Rivera said. "There aren't a lot of guys that can do what he does. ... Steve Smith was a very special football player. As was Julius.

"For whatever reasons, it [was] time to move on, unfortunately. For Thomas, hopefully that never happens."