Davis making a difference on, off the field

Carolina Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis is having one of his biggest impact seasons -- on and off the field.

On the field, he already has a career high in tackles with 128 and sacks with four.

Off the field, he planned to spend his Tuesday off before Sunday's big game against the New Orleans Saints giving away toys to about 300 kids who otherwise might not have Christmas presents as part of his "Defending Dreams'' foundation.

This summer, Davis and Charlotte Checkers owner Michael Kahn helped build a playground in Davis' hometown of Shellman in rural Randolph County, Ga.

That project cost about $60,000.

"I wanted to give those kids something to do as an outlet, because you have a lot of kids at a very young age that are getting in trouble,'' Davis said. "I did it right in the center of the city.''

Shellman, a town divided by railroad tracks, has a population of 1,166. Davis wishes he had something like the playground when he was growing up.

"The playground is really, in my opinion, the first time the city has come together,'' Davis said. "Everybody was out there. Even to this day I still get calls about the playground. The kids love going out there.

"I put a basketball court out there a couple of years back. The bigger kids, they would go and dominate the court. The younger kids still didn't have anything to do. That's why I came up with the idea of putting a playground out there.''

Davis said Tuesday's Christmas program will be just as rewarding.

"We take a wish list and try to grab something off the kid's wish list,'' Davis said. "We can't provide for as many kids as we'd like to, but we do as much as we can make a difference for.''

Davis is making a difference -- on and off the field.