banner
North Carolina

Thornton embracing advisor role at UNC

Posted September 15, 2011

North Carolina Logo

— A college football player is apt to listen to an NFL player who spent a decade in the league. That's what North Carolina is hoping after former Tar Heel David Thornton took an advisory role with the team.

Thornton was at peace with his decision to retire from the NFL after nine seasons, the last of which was spent recovering from hip surgery. But after playing 121 games in the eight seasons prior, he didn't know what to do next.

"A few months ago, I was planning on doing what retired people do, and that's relax and chill," Thornton said.

When interim head football coach Everett Withers called Thornton for a job on the UNC football staff, he felt the timing could not have been better.

“To me, it was divine, very divine in how it worked out,” Thornton said. “I didn't know it would happen so quickly with the opportunity to come back to my alma mater."

Withers and Thornton have known each other since they were a part of the Titans organization in 2006. Thornton missed just one game in his first three years in Tennessee from 2006-09. He had his best year as a Titan in 2007 collecting 93 tackles, two interceptions, a sack, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery while playing in all 16 games.

As a player, the Goldsboro native came to Carolina in the late 90s and was merely a walk-on.
Thornton struggled through academic problems and a coaching change before he turned it around and developed into an All-ACC linebacker and a productive NFL career with the Colts and Titans.

“My story is able to reach a lot of these guys, where they are, so I'm just able to really come in and serve as a mentor and a positive image for the team," Thornton said.

Withers also puts high value on Thornton’s association with the team.

"If our kids will learn from guys like David Thornton, it's worth every bit of having David around," Withers said.

Per NCAA rules, Thornton's role in player development means he can't offer direct coaching to players, only encouragement.

Thornton has not ruled out pursuing a career in coaching down the road, but says right now he is comfortable where he is at.

"Right now, I'm just learning,” Thornton said. “Being out here with these guys and encouraging them to do what they're doing is just as fulfilling for me. To plant a seed and tell a kid to keep pushing, keep working, your labor never goes in vain."

4 Comments

Please to add a comment.

Oldest First
View all
  • kornfan2448 Sep 15, 2011

    View quoted thread


    My thoughts precisely. And people question why the rule book needs revamped. He can offer a lot to the players on this team with both his experience while at UNC and his time in the NFL. At the very least, I like that Withers is thinking of surrounding his players with people that can lead, or encourage, by example.

  • cussmikemeout Sep 15, 2011

    I'm happy he wants to do something with his life. Maybe coaching in college or high school. He has the experience to guide player in the right direction.

  • itsnotmeiswear Sep 15, 2011

    "Per NCAA rules, Thornton's role in player development means he can't offer direct coaching to players, only encouragement."

    I guess this means you can't have but so many "coaches"? Are the roles really that defined by the NCAA? This seems to leave a lot for interpetation.

  • 4tarheels Sep 15, 2011

    Good for you Thornton.

  • RailHawks Soccer: Carolina @ New York Cosmos

    Today at 4:00 pm on WRAL-2

  • NFL: Houston at New Orleans

    Today at 4:00 pm on FOX50

  • ACC: Wofford at Clemson

    Saturday at 12:25 pm on WRAL-TV

  • CFB: Louisville at Auburn

    Saturday at 3:30 pm on WRAL-TV

  • NASL: RailHawks at New York

    Today at 4:00 pm on 99.9 HD3 The Ticket

  • MiLB: Bulls vs. Charlotte

    Today at 4:50 pm on Buzz Sports Radio

  • MLB: Chicago Cubs at LA Dodgers

    Tonight at 8:00 on 99.9 The Fan

AP Top 25
Thu, Sept 3
4:30 PT5:30 MT6:30 CT7:30 ET11:30 GMT7:30 北京时间4:30 MST6:30 EST
16
 
2
6:00 PT7:00 MT8:00 CT9:00 ET1:00 GMT9:00 北京时间6:00 MST8:00 EST
 
7:00 PT8:00 MT9:00 CT10:00 ET2:00 GMT10:00 北京时间7:00 MST9:00 EST
22
Fri, Sept 4
4
4:00 PT5:00 MT6:00 CT7:00 ET11:00 GMT7:00 北京时间4:00 MST6:00 EST
 
5
4:00 PT5:00 MT6:00 CT7:00 ET11:00 GMT7:00 北京时间4:00 MST6:00 EST
 
7:15 PT8:15 MT9:15 CT10:15 ET2:15 GMT10:15 北京时间7:15 MST9:15 EST
23
Sat, Sept 5
9:00 PT10:00 MT11:00 CT12:00 ET4:00 GMT12:00 北京时间9:00 MST11:00 EST
9
 
21
9:00 PT10:00 MT11:00 CT12:00 ET4:00 GMT12:00 北京时间9:00 MST11:00 EST
 
9:00 PT10:00 MT11:00 CT12:00 ET4:00 GMT12:00 北京时间9:00 MST11:00 EST
17
 
9:30 PT10:30 MT11:30 CT12:30 ET4:30 GMT12:30 北京时间9:30 MST11:30 EST
12
 
12:30 PT1:30 MT2:30 CT3:30 ET7:30 GMT3:30 北京时间12:30 MST2:30 EST
18
 
12:30 PT1:30 MT2:30 CT3:30 ET7:30 GMT3:30 北京时间12:30 MST2:30 EST
6
 
12:30 PT1:30 MT2:30 CT3:30 ET7:30 GMT3:30 北京时间12:30 MST2:30 EST
13
 
1:00 PT2:00 MT3:00 CT4:00 ET8:00 GMT4:00 北京时间1:00 MST3:00 EST
24
 
1:00 PT2:00 MT3:00 CT4:00 ET8:00 GMT4:00 北京时间1:00 MST3:00 EST
25
 
4:00 PT5:00 MT6:00 CT7:00 ET11:00 GMT7:00 北京时间4:00 MST6:00 EST
19
 
15
4:00 PT5:00 MT6:00 CT7:00 ET11:00 GMT7:00 北京时间4:00 MST6:00 EST
 
4:30 PT5:30 MT6:30 CT7:30 ET11:30 GMT7:30 北京时间4:30 MST6:30 EST
14
 
4:30 PT5:30 MT6:30 CT7:30 ET11:30 GMT7:30 北京时间4:30 MST6:30 EST
11
 
20
5:00 PT6:00 MT7:00 CT8:00 ET12:00 GMT8:00 北京时间5:00 MST7:00 EST
3
 
5:00 PT6:00 MT7:00 CT8:00 ET12:00 GMT8:00 北京时间5:00 MST7:00 EST
10
 
5:00 PT6:00 MT7:00 CT8:00 ET12:00 GMT8:00 北京时间5:00 MST7:00 EST
7
 
8:00 PT9:00 MT10:00 CT11:00 ET3:00 GMT11:00 北京时间8:00 MST10:00 EST
8
Mon, Sept 7
1
5:00 PT6:00 MT7:00 CT8:00 ET12:00 GMT8:00 北京时间5:00 MST7:00 EST
 
NFL Preseason
Friday, Aug. 28
New England17Final
Carolina16
 
Detroit22Final
Jacksonville17
 
Tennessee10Final
Kansas City34
Saturday, Aug. 29
Pittsburgh19Final
Buffalo43
 
Minnesota28Final
Dallas14
 
Atlanta9Final
Miami13
 
NY Jets28Final
NY Giants18
 
Cleveland31Final
Tampa Bay7
 
Washington31Final
Baltimore13
 
Chicago10Final
Cincinnati21
 
Philadelphia39Final
Green Bay26
 
Seattle16Final
San Diego15
 
Indianapolis24Final
St. Louis14
 
San Francisco12Final
Denver19
Sunday, Aug. 30
Houston 1:00 PT2:00 MT3:00 CT4:00 ET20:00 GMT4:00 北京时间1:00 MST3:00 EST3:00 CT0:00 UAE (+1)16:00 ET19:00
New Orleans 
 
Arizona 5:00 PT6:00 MT7:00 CT8:00 ET0:00 GMT8:00 北京时间5:00 MST7:00 EST7:00 CT4:00 UAE (+1)20:00 ET23:00
Oakland