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March 25, 2009

Fox breaks long silence about Peppers

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DANA POINT, Calif. -- If rock stars make loads of money, why can’t football players?

   In essence, that was coach John Fox’s take on the $16.683 million tender offer the Panthers had to make to defensive end Julius Peppers to franchise him and keep him off the free agency market.

   Barring a trade, the tender means Peppers will play for more than $1 million per game next season – a number that doesn’t faze Fox.

   “I don’t get into salaries,” Fox told reporters at the NFL owners’ meetings. “I don’t know what Elton John makes or Bono makes. I’m sure they make pretty good numbers, too.”

   Fox talked more extensively about Peppers Wednesday than anyone in the Panthers’ organization has since Peppers first went public in January that he preferred to play elsewhere next season.

   Fox dismissed speculation in some NFL circles that the Panthers need to trade Peppers to get his high salary off of their salary cap. Truth is, Peppers is scheduled to count only 20% more than his 2008 cap number of just under $14 million.

   “Is Tom Brady’s cap number a burden (to the Patriots)? Is Eli Manning’s (a burden to the Giants?” said Fox. “I don’t know. It’s just part of what we do. Everybody has a cap number.

   “I don’t know what number (Peppers) was last year, but it had to be close (to the ’09 tender). I was comfortable with that. I don’t like getting into what people make, but he’s a Pro Bowl-caliber player who I’ve been comfortable with for seven seasons.”

   Peppers and his agent, Carl Carey, have said Peppers wants to play for another team next season. They hoped the Panthers wouldn’t franchise him and now prefer a trade, but only to a small list of teams. It appears the only teams he’d agree to play for who have the salary cap room and draft currency to potentially made a move to acquire him are the New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles.

   Fox wouldn’t say whether or not he expects Peppers to be back with the Panthers.

   “Let the system play out,” said Fox. “I can’t lean one way or the other. … We’ll see how it works out.”

   When asked how the Panthers would go about replacing Peppers if he’s traded, Fox said:

   “In this league, things change every season. You anticipate changes. Sometimes they happen and you adjust. If (Peppers staying) doesn’t work out, we’ll have some kind of (draft-pick) currency and we’ll have to adjust from there.”

   But Fox made it clear he does not expect any difficulty if Peppers remains with Carolina. There has been speculation that Peppers would be so unhappy that it would be unhealthy for team chemistry.

   “Not at all,” Fox said when asked if he thought having Peppers would cause problems. “He never has. I don’t know why it would start now.”

   Peppers and Carey have said they believe Peppers has come close to maxing out his potential in the Panthers’ defensive system and they think he’d have a better chance of reaching his full potential elsewhere. If those comments stung Fox, he didn’t show it Wednesday.

   “No, because maybe I feel like I’m maxed out,” Fox said, speaking tongue-in-cheek. “The difference is there are contracts. That’s professional sport. You can’t just do what you want when you want.

   “That (Peppers’ position) doesn’t surprise me. It doesn’t sting me. … That’s this league.”

   Regardless of whether Peppers has reached his full potential with the Panthers, Fox said Peppers has had “a terrific career,” which includes four Pro Bowl appearances.

   “If he was my son,” said Fox, “I would be proud of him.”

   -- Charles Chandler

Posted by Observer Sports on March 25, 2009 at 12:23 PM | Permalink


Some major but kissing comments by Fox. Sounds like he expects Peppers will be a Panther next year.

Posted by: Jim | Mar 25, 2009 12:39:45 PM

Yeah, why not pay some whiney ass football player a million dollars a game, while we lay off teachers. What about all the people who perform livesaving, essential services. Ever see what an EMT, fireman, cop or nurse make? Instead of kissing his butt we should be helping him pack! Good riddance!

Posted by: Hoagie58 | Mar 25, 2009 12:48:36 PM

Out-foxed by Pep! 28.1 Mil for Pep in the last 2 years for 17 sacks. That's $1.65 Mil per sack... ouch. Some recession. No wonder nobody wants Pep!

Posted by: panthster | Mar 25, 2009 12:52:52 PM

The problem is not Peppers

The problem is FOX

His bad coaching lost us a super bowl ...get rid of JOHN KASAY !!

If the Panthers had kept Shayne Graham we would have WON a super bowl already!!!

Posted by: Scott | Mar 25, 2009 12:54:23 PM

Hey Hoagie,
If 70,000 people paid $100 to watch teachers or EMTs do their job every week, you might have a point.

Posted by: Authority | Mar 25, 2009 12:55:16 PM

I will stand on what I said before. My childhood sports hero, Hank Aaron, had over 500 homers and over 3000 hits before he got his first contract for $100K per year. I liked pro sports back then. I no longer like it, nor watch it, not even the Stuper Bowl, any more. Money has ruined it. Kids today won't agree, because they don't want their lives today to feel shorted and, they weren't even alive back then so how could they know how good it was. They are lying if they say they do. I feel sorry for them. I grew up in Atlanta, and I used to go to the Braves games for 50 cents, and... I got a real full size Louisville Slugger on Bat Day. 'Nuff said.

Posted by: justthefacts | Mar 25, 2009 12:58:20 PM

I do agree with Fox when he says, “Let the system play out...” Both sides are simply positioning in what is no more at this point than a high price game of poker. Question is...who's going to tip their hand first?

Posted by: growlprowl | Mar 25, 2009 1:02:02 PM

Peppers is not worth this much, he's never even one NFL Defensive MVP award!

He takes games and in some cases entire seasons off.


Posted by: jp | Mar 25, 2009 1:05:02 PM


he doesnt watch the superbowl but comments on and reads an online article about how fox feels about peppers contract situation. sounds like BS to me

Posted by: j | Mar 25, 2009 1:08:47 PM

If he had Shayne Graham we would have won the Super Bowl? I have heard a lot of reasons why the Panthers haven't won yet, but thats the first time I've heard anyone say Shayne Graham would have won us the Super Bowl. Why not Joe Nedney or Richie Cunningham?

Posted by: Stephen | Mar 25, 2009 1:11:50 PM

With Shane Graham we would have won a super bowl already?? Dude, I've read some stupid comments on here before but wow...

How has Shane done for his other teams by the way on that super bowl ring?

Posted by: vcw_charlotte | Mar 25, 2009 1:14:34 PM

Hey Authority- I bet any of the professions I listed will directly impact each of those 70k people befor Julius Peppers will. When you're torn up in a wreck who would you rather see- a well trained, underpaid paramedic or Julius "Whiney Ass" Peppers?

Posted by: Hoagie58 | Mar 25, 2009 1:14:53 PM

Doesnt anyone remember when we didnt have fox? I do, it wasnt fun, watching my team go down in flames from draft day. He is the best coach we have and shouldnt change, as for getting ride of kasey, i think you should get ride of your bad feelings, if he wasnt that good in 2003 they wouldnt have even made it to the bowl. Pep is a beast who had a bad year, you werent talking crap about him when he blocked that fg in tampa.

Posted by: jason | Mar 25, 2009 1:15:07 PM

As much as I like to watch sports this kind of situation is why I don't have much to do with "professional" sports. A lot of these guys don't act like professionals.

Professionalism is not about money. It is about how you do your job and how you relate to people around you. It is about class and respect.

There are problems within college sports as well but at least athletes aren't (usually) making fortunes to play the game. I'll stick with college sports. Good riddens with selfish, child NFL, NBA, MLB etc.

Posted by: John Keels | Mar 25, 2009 1:15:18 PM

If, if, if...
IF John Kasay hadn't kicked the ball out of bounds in Houston, the Cat's hold the Pat's and there IS NO game winning Venetari FG. It's a game of inches my friends, we need to scratch & claw for every inch.

Posted by: Jon in DC | Mar 25, 2009 1:26:13 PM

when r we going to trade peppers and get cutler and champ bailey???????

Posted by: frankiedolo | Mar 25, 2009 1:30:36 PM

No no no no...the question should be..."If rock stars make loads of money, why can't teachers? Don't we have something backwards here?

Posted by: Jeff Brown | Mar 25, 2009 1:35:20 PM

oh, pipe down...Foxy said all the right things here; after all is said and done, Fox has proven to be a A-/B+ coach and that's all right with me...

Posted by: rick | Mar 25, 2009 1:36:32 PM

Hey Hoagie,

If you don't like Peppers and how he's being handled by the Panthers, why don't you take your whiney ass and go get a life!

Posted by: DBIGCAT | Mar 25, 2009 1:37:02 PM

Fox needs to change the defense to 3-4 and keep him here. It has proved to be a better defensive system with the right players. The Capers' teams had good defenses with it. They were bad offensively, but great on defense. Use your talent the best way you can. Pep would be like LT was at outside LB. Trust me, that's where I play him on the Madden game. He does great! haha But seriously, he would make a great outside LB. Why not get the most out of that talent and ahtletic ability?

Posted by: Chuck Denton | Mar 25, 2009 1:43:50 PM

Apparently the reason Fox doesn't know salaries is it's not coming out of his salary. Since when do companies pay their coaches ("glorified gym rats")salary's which exceed the combined salary of most high schools teachers. At least H.S. coaches are in the classroom teaching students academics.

Rock stars don't employ thousands of people and charge PSL's to their shows on top of the price of admission. Again, "glorified gym rats."

Posted by: wagner | Mar 25, 2009 1:48:29 PM

With all due respect, there are millions of people who can do the job of firemen, emt's, teachers, etc. Peppers has extremely rare abilities and luckily for him those abilities are more valuable to our society. If you don't like it then following sports.

Posted by: J | Mar 25, 2009 1:54:14 PM

I wouldn't mind the change to a 3-4 defense but it would require several changes in personnel. A little late to do that now. btw, one of the primary advantages of a 3-4 defense is the decrease in d-linemen and the increase in linebackers, thereby increasing the speed and athletic abilities available to the coaches for special teams play.

Posted by: GooseCreek | Mar 25, 2009 2:06:06 PM

That $17M Peppers would get is not an amount he requested, but the amount the league mandated the Panthers would have to pay to keep him using the Franchise Tag. So, those people who keep saying that Pep is only after the money, and challenging his professionalism sound silly. Peppers has never bad mouthed the organization, or as Fox said, hase never embarrased the team. Many people on here are just saying these stupid comments about Peppers because he is not doing what they want him to do. Most on here are just jealous that they aren't in the position the Peppers is in. If the roles were reversed, they would be doing the same thing.

Posted by: jp1906 | Mar 25, 2009 2:32:23 PM

Since '03:
Shayne Graham-154/176 on FGs (87.5%); 47/63 beyond 39 yards (74.6%); 31 go-ahead FGs, 12 game-tying FGs
John Kasay-153/180 (85.0%); 58/82 (70.7%); 46 go-ahead FGs, 8 game-tying FGs

So is Graham MODERATELY more accurate? Perhaps, but he takes FAR more of his FGs from closer range than Kasay, and his kicks are less important. Oh, and let's not forget Kasay's 15-17 playoff FG record (88.2%), which I'd say trumps Graham's measly 1-1.

But oh gosh, I'm sure you'll whine about the kickoffs:
Kasay-321 KOs, 62.0 yards/KO
Graham-472 KOs, 61.9 yards/KO

Jason, Peppers was mediocre at best in the playoffs in '03, just as he has been every time he's been in the playoffs: 8 G, 21 T, 2 sacks. How would you like the $17 million man to rack up a 42-tackle, 4-sack season?

Because, Chuck, Peppers is NO LT! He's too stiff to cover, and he can't consistently dominate at ONE position, much less adding more to his responsibilities.

Posted by: Michael Procton | Mar 25, 2009 2:37:50 PM

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