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October 22, 2008

Peppers says he deferred to Rucker

Panthers defensive end Julius Peppers acknowledged Wednesday that he's being a more vocal leader this year and says the reason he didn't seem to instantly respond to owner Jerry Richardson's urging before the 2007 season was because veteran Mike Rucker was still with the team. Peppers said he had so much respect for Rucker that he felt he should defer to Rucker's leadership. Now, with Rucker retired, Peppers said he feels more free to let his leadership qualities show.

Here's how Peppers put it in Wednesday's locker-room interview:

"The thing about that is last year, you talk about Mr. Richardson calling me out and asking me to be a leader on this team, but then you don’t really realize that I’m here and Mike Rucker -- the guy who when I first game here, I hung on to, tried to learn from, respected him as much as you can respect anybody -- he’s still in the locker room next to me. I can’t really be myself around him and try to take over, if you want to call it the `Big Dog' role on the defense with him still here. I respect him that much. I don’t want to step on his toes and try to go over him.

"So, last year, I kind of fell back a little bit and let Ruck do his thing. Now, I feel like I’ve been here the longest and I feel like I can do it a little bit more."

We'll have more from Peppers later and in tomorrow's paper.

-- Charles Chandler

Posted by Observer Sports on October 22, 2008 at 03:28 PM | Permalink

Comments

pretty intresting if u ask me.

Posted by: robbyc | Oct 22, 2008 3:39:42 PM

Yahoo put out a good article on Julius Peppers today...

http://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/news;_ylt=AuZ.x5sbsUcGQBV8U6sQjUZDubYF?slug=jc-peppersproduction102208&prov=yhoo&type=lgns

Posted by: JM | Oct 22, 2008 3:57:30 PM

True leaders don't "defer." And players angling to be the highest-paid on their side of the league show up more often than every other week, particularly when they're matched up against six backups in a seven week stretch, as Peppers has.

Posted by: Michael Procton | Oct 22, 2008 4:08:39 PM

GO PANTHERS!!! GO PEPPERS!!!

Posted by: bryant80 | Oct 22, 2008 4:17:01 PM

Good article JM; especially if you're Peppers' agent. It truly is a night and day difference from the past (where he would stop in the middle of the play and watch the action go down from the middle of the field like some spectator). Even if Peppers does keep this intensity up through the rest of this season, I still have to stay suspect of him and hope they don't get overzealos with him in his contract extension. Regardless, it still remains to be seen if he can keep this intensity consistent in the next few years.

...'til then, though, I'll have to admit that it is fun to watch.

Posted by: Keeping It Real | Oct 22, 2008 4:17:27 PM

Who said Pep was a true leader? I liked him better anyway before J. Rich put that role on him.

Posted by: matt | Oct 22, 2008 4:29:39 PM

Procton, if Peppers played anywhere other than UNC where you have a noticeable biased hatred would you still be bitching about him. ?Why do you hate everything UNC?

Posted by: sam | Oct 22, 2008 4:36:35 PM

Procton if peppers played anywhere other than UNC where you are truely biased against would you even complain. What is your beef with the school?

Posted by: David | Oct 22, 2008 4:43:45 PM

Of course I would. When the "best defensive player in NFL history"--who's on the books for $16 MILLION this year--only plays hard every other game, I'd be complaining plenty.

Posted by: Michael Procton | Oct 22, 2008 4:49:41 PM

Will somebody please explain the concept of salary escalting and incentive based contracts to the child Procton? Get a life man....it is great when u are proven wrong time and time again and you just go away - see colbert getting cut. So if we guarantee him 30 odd million and his cap figure for next year is 7 million any chance you quit complaining? My guess is no.....Peppers is a huge reason for the success of this defense and if you disagree it's obvious you know nothing.......oh wait, already true. Go root for your cardinals, I hope they don't have anybody from UNC.

Posted by: John | Oct 22, 2008 4:49:58 PM

Someone take a guess at the money Peppers would get if he hit free agency, it will be Freeney money for sure, thats his value, is it overvalued? Yes, but who do you replace Peps with? Taylor? Johnson?

Posted by: matt | Oct 22, 2008 4:56:26 PM

Procton you have obviously not played sports on a competitive level because if u did u would understand exactly what peppers is talking about. Whats ur problem with pep anyways? Did he bang ur girlfriend in high school?

Posted by: matt | Oct 22, 2008 5:04:45 PM

Procton you have obviously not played sports on a competitive level because if u did u would understand exactly what peppers is talking about. Whats ur problem with pep anyways? Did he bang ur girlfriend in high school?

Posted by: matt | Oct 22, 2008 5:05:01 PM

I could play better than Pep. I'm better than him. I have played so many downs in the NFL at DE that I am an expert.

In actuality, I have never played a down of football in my life. I have absolutely no credibility whatsoever in reference to my opinion about football or sports in general. I am on this website every waking moment, waiting for a chance to talk down to one of the best players that has ever played in a Panther uniform. My god, my life sucks. I am worthless. I am a peon in the essence of the universe.

Posted by: Michael Procton | Oct 22, 2008 5:11:16 PM

Procton was the kid in middle school who we beat up and took his lunch money....he's had a hard life in his mommys basement. Give the kid a break

Posted by: Jbn | Oct 22, 2008 5:11:45 PM

I could play better than Pep. I'm better than him. I have played so many downs in the NFL at DE that I am an expert.

In actuality, I have never played a down of football in my life. I have absolutely no credibility whatsoever in reference to my opinion about football or sports in general. I am on this website every waking moment, waiting for a chance to talk down to one of the best players that has ever played in a Panther uniform. My god, my life sucks. I am worthless. I am a peon in the essence of the universe.

Posted by: Michael Procton | Oct 22, 2008 5:11:48 PM

I could play better than Pep. I'm better than him. I have played so many downs in the NFL at DE that I am an expert.

In actuality, I have never played a down of football in my life. I have absolutely no credibility whatsoever in reference to my opinion about football or sports in general. I am on this website every waking moment, waiting for a chance to talk down to one of the best players that has ever played in a Panther uniform. My god, my life sucks. I am worthless. I am a peon in the essence of the universe.

Posted by: Michael Procton | Oct 22, 2008 5:11:53 PM

Nice find there MJ.

It is sad however, when we need to find a national media outlet to get a positive article on Peppers. Too bad more so called Panther fans are not aware of what they have in Pep. They some how expect Panther players to be perfect, and play at a higher level than the opposition. Most have no clue as to the dedication and drive a player needs just to get the opportunity to play in this league. Every player in this league has talent, even the back-ups. To expect our players to dominate just because they are Panthers is assinine, and shows their lack of knowledge about the NFL and its players.

Sorry for the rant, I am just weary of the Panther bashing. Considering we are 5-2, there should be more love that what I see here on a daily basis. Maybe it is because the Panthers have not been around very long so the fans have not had time to learn the game. I hope that is the reason, because any other reason is just to terrorfying to think about.

GO CATS! and PEPPERS!

Posted by: iamhubby | Oct 22, 2008 5:32:50 PM

You guys are retarded. Julius Peppers is awesome. Quit fretting about him making waaaay the hell more money than you.

Posted by: KKMartin | Oct 22, 2008 5:36:10 PM

Being a TRUE leader is having enough respect for your mentor and "Defering" so that you dont make him look bad .

Being a "True" leader is about having respect,much less the character of a man,for those that come before you,even moreso when you know that mento wont be back the following year.

Not like Id expect the "Proctologist " to understand that however.

Posted by: Ghost of Sparta | Oct 22, 2008 6:28:05 PM

Has anyone thought that maybe this is the reason that JP had such a bad season last year. Feeling he wasn't full filling the expectations of his coach and owner. I mean that could have put a real damper on him mentally. I'm sure that it may not all be about "him stepping up to be THE leader" but it could have been a big part. What do the rest of you guys think?

Posted by: Matt | Oct 22, 2008 6:43:23 PM

Carolina Growl had a nice article on Pep and Ruckers.
My Comment there:
Nice article, reflects well on both Julius and Mike Rucker. Now, last week Julius finally stopped just speed rushing outside 12 yards up field and tryed spin move, bull rushes, inside speed duck under, etc so I thought his technigue and effort to be creative and harder to block was much better. He did get caught on two runs jumping an inside gap and was just washed in and RB bounced around him thru his (probable) assigned gap but having said that, the occassional big play comes then too (I could tell it was his gap cause no safety or LB was there, although they could have been out of place as well) In any case when Peppers trys various moves thruought the game he is much better and obviously a real force and game changer.

Posted by: Isaiah | Oct 22, 2008 6:52:47 PM

Jon Beason didn't have a problem stepping up as a leader with less experience than Peppers.

Posted by: Ben | Oct 22, 2008 6:54:00 PM

In our two losses and the two games decided by three points or less, Julius Peppers has gone for only 12 tackles (8 solo), 1 sack, 0 FF, and 0 PDs. In each of these games, he was matched up against a backup LT.

In the three blowout wins, Peppers has gone for 7 tackles (6 solo), 3 sacks, 2 FFs, and 3 PDs. In two of these three games, he went against backup tackles.

So someone please tell me why he's disappeared when we've needed him most, but been HUGE in blowouts.

Posted by: Michael Procton | Oct 22, 2008 8:24:06 PM

because against the vikings he was facing one of the best o-lines in the nfl especially on the left side with the guard, i forgot his name... and against the bucs they were running the ball a lot because we spotted them 14 points so pep didnt really get a chance to make an impact. Same thing against the vikings, when both teams are running the ball 3 out of 4 plays he's not gonna get many sacks.

Posted by: matt s | Oct 22, 2008 9:45:13 PM

The comments to this entry are closed.

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