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Will Julius Peppers Get a Storybook Ending?

It surprised many when Julius Peppers announced he’d return for the 2016 season at age 36, to finish out his three-year contract with the Green Bay Packers. What might we reasonably expect of this 6-7, 287-pound defensive end converted to linebacker?

Statistics tell us that pass rushers are often productive well into their 30s. The Packers have first-hand experience with this, as the NFL’s all-time seasonal leader in sacks when 36 or older is Reggie White, who in his last year with the team had 16 sacks at age 37. White actually upped his sack numbers, from 8.5 and 11 in the prior two seasons.

White was 35 when the Packers won the Super Bowl in 1996.

After a year away from the game he joined the Carolina Panthers at age 40 and still managed 5.5 sacks.

Trailing White on this list, with 15 sacks, are then San Francisco 49ers defensive end Chris Doleman (also at 37) and then Carolina Panthers linebacker Kevin Greene (36). Several years later, Greene became an outside linebackers coach for the Packers, serving from 2009 through 2013. He stepped away just as Peppers arrived, saying he hoped to return to coaching when his children go off to college.

Julius is a prime example of the value of superior athleticism. In the last three years, he’s notched 7, 7, and 10.5 sacks, despite reduced playing time. He’s also had 3.5 sacks in four post-season games with the Packers.

His tackle totals in the last three years have been 45, 54, and 36.

Another Peppers’ strength is his health. Over the last 13 years, he’s missed only two games, both in 2007.

Make no mistake: this is Peppers’ last and best chance at a Super Bowl victory. He’ll be motivated.

If he can tack on one more fine year, he just might share the pleasure of hoisting the Lombardi trophy with White.

Rob Born

Smart drafters don’t select the best available players, they fill a team’s positions of greatest need.



  1. Packers fan July 6, 2016

    He should get a ring this year and ride off in the sunset.

  2. Draymond Green July 6, 2016


    1. Stephen Curry July 6, 2016

      YO UR caps lock stuck bro, wut u 9? ur troll game b strait garbage hahalmao

  3. Tucson Packer July 6, 2016

    Interesting tie-in with Reggie White. I think it would definitely be story book and it is all there especially with his added motivation if this is indeed his sunset season. I remember watching the Packers play against him in Carolina and not hating necessarily but definitely admiring the pressure he could put onto opponents. Just so naturally gifted of an athlete. Id always thought he deserved to win a Super Bowl. Of course, now more than ever.

    1. Packers fan July 6, 2016

      I agree Tucson Packer Peppers should win the Super Bowl this and ride off in the sunset, just like Peyton Manning and Ray Lewis.

  4. Slim July 6, 2016

    Most likely not, I don’t see Peppers as the great emotional and spiritual leader that White was. Completely different guys.

    1. Stephen Curry July 6, 2016

      I don’t think it was on those “emotional and spiritual” qualities that are being compared. If I were you, assuming you are a Packers fan, I would think you would be rooting for the sunset thing because that means who would have to win the SB?

    2. Howard July 6, 2016

      There is a reason Peppers was elected playoff captain the last two years by his teammates.

      1. Packers fan July 6, 2016

        Wait till he wins a Super Bowl, he will ride in the sunset.

        1. Tucson Packer July 7, 2016

          It just feels “right”.

          1. Packers fan July 7, 2016

            Are you a Packers fan in Arizona? I know your a Packers fan but I want to know if your a fan in Arizona.

  5. Tucson Packer July 7, 2016

    @ Packers Fan. Yes. I currently reside in Tucson, Az. Home of the Wildcats and Sonoran dogs.

    1. Packers fan July 7, 2016

      @ Tucson Packer, do you use twitter? Or did you went to the Packers Cardinals game? Or have you went to a Packers game? If so which one? Week 16 or the Hail Larry Madness?

      1. Tucson Packer July 8, 2016

        I do not tweet or FB. This site here and youtube, imigur are the length of my social media. I have also, unfortunately, never seen the Packers play with my own two eyes.

        1. Packers fan July 8, 2016

          What’s your YouTube name?

          1. Tucson Packer July 9, 2016


          2. Packers fan July 9, 2016

            Thanks man! Take care Tucson Packer! Go Pack Go!