A Tip of the Hat to Julius Peppers
After seventeen seasons in the NFL, Julius Peppers recently announced his retirement. While originally and again most recently with the Carolina Panthers, he spent a few seasons at Green Bay lazily passing the time away. He was the kind of guy that could half-ass his efforts and still put up some decent numbers and impressive play. One could also argue that throttling his efforts played a role in his career going as long as it did.
He was one of the greats to wear a Packers uniform – although he still trails Reggie White on total career sacks (198 to 159.5). Tt was a shame to see him leave the Packers to go back to the Panthers.
Not to say that it is a direct cause, but in the absence of Peppers, the Packers have continued to struggle with pass rushing – an issue that will hopefully be addressed in the upcoming draft. After going back to the Panthers, Peppers still produced respectable numbers. Peppers also brought with him the maturity and leadership qualities one would want from any player.
Julius Peppers has something to say… pic.twitter.com/VKGjFmlWum
— Carolina Panthers (@Panthers) February 1, 2019
Transcript from his farewell video:
Thank you. For the victories and the good times. For the lessons and the times we desired more. For the sacrifices, the belief, the confidence and the unwavering support — I’m thankful. Because without you, this wasn’t possible. Thank you for the spirit, the resolve and the attitude to Keep Pounding. It’s not something we just say around here. It’s how we live. I’m thankful for the things you showed me about life that were bigger than football and for a second chance — a new beginning.
See, the players, we come and we go, but the constant is you. And as the saying goes, ‘Once a Panther, always a Panther.’ Thank you for the memories, the friendships, the laughs and the culture we created. For the understanding and for being family. Thanks for all the years and cheers. And for being home now and forever.
I wouldn’t change a thing about this journey. It was the best teacher I’ve ever had and was everything I could’ve hoped for. The tough times never lasted, and the tough people inspired me to be better and give more. I hope I did the same. Only time can reveal what’s next, but my time here is up. No regrets, no looking back and nothing left to give. It’s not goodbye. It’s kinda like, ‘I’ll see you later.’ But until then I’m grateful, I’m satisfied and at peace with all that comes next.
Peppers had this to say about being a Packer in a recent article he wrote on his retirement:
I guess more than anything, Green Bay just felt like home. You know, small town, good people who love their football … it was a really great experience being a part of that culture. I was sad to leave Green Bay, and I don’t think I would have left to go anywhere but home to Carolina.
Aaron Rodgers had this to say about working with him:
I love my time with Julius. I love him as a person, as a teammate. He’s still a dear friend to this day. My sadness in playing with him is not giving him a chance to win a ring because of all the players who have played in the NFL, there’s not many that deserve a ring like Julius Peppers because he’s one of the all-time greats.
Peppers was a bold decision by Ted that arguably worked out. Or, at the very least, was interesting to see play out. Of course, this was canceled out by the fact that he let Peppers go back to the Panthers.