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Panthers LB Thomas Davis’ ‘guarantee’: Bears will be better under John Fox

Take it from a two-time Walter Payton Man of the Year nominee: the Bears have a winner in John Fox.

“The Bears are gong to be a much better team than they were last year — I can guarantee you that,” Carolina Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis told me Friday. “He’s a tough, tough, no-nonsense coach. You’re going to go out and get the job done. Players are going to want to compete hard for him. You’re going to want to do the things he’s telling you to do, because he’s proven that he’s a winner.”

Davis, the Panthers’ first-round draft pick out of Georgia in 2005, was with the team in Fox’s final six seasons. But he only played seven games in the final two years with Fox because of injuries. In fact, his absence in the fateful 2010 season helped grease the skids for Fox’s departure. Without Davis, out with a knee injury, the Panthers were 2-14 in 2010 and dropped from ninth to 26th in the NFL in scoring defense.

But he had nothing but good things to say about the Bears new coach, especially his ability to make a team better.

“He has a different approach to practices, to the game plan and he’s a coach that the players are definitely going to be excited bout playing for,” Davis said. “We loved coach Fox when he was here. We hated to see him go.”

Davis was in Phoenix as a nominee for the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award. He was a finalist last year, when Bears’ cornerback Charles Tillman won it.