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February 23, 2010

Peppers describes exit as "bittersweet"

   On the day Julius Peppers finally received the freedom he’s sought for more than a year, he described his parting with the Carolina Panthers as “bittersweet.”

   “This state has been my home for 30 years and I’ve been in Charlotte for almost a third of my life,” Peppers said in an exclusive telephone interview with the Observer. “On one hand, it’s kind of sad to walk away from where I’ve been a long time. On the other hand, I’m looking forward to finding a new home and continuing to build the legacy I have in this league.”

   Peppers, a Baiiley, N.C., native who played collegiately at North Carolina, learned late Monday night that the Panthers would not use their franchise tag on him and would allow him to become an unrestricted free agent, news that general manager Marty Hurney announced to the media during a news conference this afternoon.

   Peppers will be free to negotiate with any teams starting March 5, the start of the NFL’s free agency signing period.

   Peppers said he looks forward to exploring options and finding the team that fits him best. However, he said has barely begun to think about where that might be.

   “Right now, I’m just officially getting the news I’ll be able to pick a new team,” he said. “As of right now, I don’t really have all the information necessary to make a decision of where I want to be. I don’t even know what my options are. There are a lot of things that will factor into the decision.”

   Peppers said he doesn’t have a preference whether to remain a defensive end in a 4-3 defense or to play outside linebacker in a 3-4.

   Peppers will be one of the top unrestricted free agents available, though some league analysts have downgraded him somewhat because he’s 30, an age when the skills of many defensive ends show marked decline.

   However, Peppers, who had 10 ½ sacks last season, said he doesn’t think age should factor into how teams evaluate him.

   “I really don’t think that’s as a big a deal as everybody is trying to make it into,” he said. “Everyone’s body is different. Body types vary. To look at a couple of people and how turning 30 affected thehir body is not the same as the next person. Everyone’s body reacts differently to the physical nature of the game.

   “I feel the same as I did last year, or two or three years ago. I don’t feel any different. It’s just a number to me.”

   Peppers, who said recently that he was “turned off” because the team hadn’t communicated him since the season ended, said he leaves the Panthers without hard feelings.

   “I don’t resent the Panthers’ organization for making this move,” he said. “I don’t have one ounce of hate or disdain in my body for anyone associated with that team.”

   Asked how he wants to be remembered by Carolina fans, Peppers said: “I cant really control how people are going to view my career as a Panther. I want to be remembered as an upstanding guy, a good teammate, and a very productive player. That’s about it.”

 

   -- Charles Chandler

Posted by Observer Sports on February 23, 2010 at 04:05 PM | Permalink

Comments

but will you remember me?

Posted by: Sean May | Feb 23, 2010 4:19:47 PM

I for one have only great memories of Julius' time in Carolina, probably because I'm a real Panthers fan and don't have my head up my ass

Posted by: Al | Feb 23, 2010 4:20:24 PM

Asked how he wants to be remembered by Carolina fans, Peppers said: “I cant really control how people are going to view my career as a Panther. I want to be remembered as an upstanding guy, a good teammate, and a very productive player. That’s about it.”

- That's exactly how I will remember him. Unfortunately, not many fans will agree. Had we had a Drew Brees or Peyton Manning at quarterback we might have won a couple of Super Bowls. In the end, we have Matt Moore in the waiting. Hurney still thinks highly to pay Jake all that money yet he killed us from the first game. Peppers did what was asked and we let him get away in an UNCAPPED year. Very cheap and shameful of the Panthers. Thanks Jerry.

Posted by: Paul | Feb 23, 2010 4:22:10 PM

Goodby Julius, hope you land on your feet in the situation you hope for.
I will miss seeing you perform the once every 5 games demonstration of your skill, but I won't miss you.

Posted by: george | Feb 23, 2010 4:23:54 PM

Congratulations Pepp, you've gotten what you wanted now you will get what you deserve. The Panthers (organization and fans) have been agonizingly patient with you because of your freakish talent. The only consistent part of your game was the apathy with which you approached it and I for one applaud the decision of the team.

Go chase your millions, go be where you want to be but be prepared for a level of scrutiny you have never known and certainly will not be able to handle, regardless of all that freakish talent.

You never had the will to succeed, just a natural gift to and I guess that's what makes you and your story all the more pathetic.

Good riddance.

Posted by: pantherfaninyankeeland | Feb 23, 2010 4:24:05 PM

Hurney and Fox's exit won't be "bittersweet" We have become a team that nobody wants to be at because of all the negativity these two have brought to our team. Now Hurney replace Pep w/EQUAL tallent!..Oh yeah like Kris Jenkins...NONE yet!

Posted by: hellfish | Feb 23, 2010 4:25:41 PM

i call him the freaks on nature for nothing his the best for what he does and i sure will miss him but i need to move on now my new freak of nature is mr brown i think he is good as peps maybe the people might think i m crazy but everee brown is good too if i wasthe coach i make him an out side linebaker

Posted by: wembi | Feb 23, 2010 4:30:12 PM

I have one question...

Who are we going to sign with the extra $20 mill that we are saving in this diluted FA market this year? T.O. and/or Javon Kearse?

Seriously?

The FA talent out there is so weak, that is why keeping the talent that you do have this offseason is so important.

I know that Fox and Hurney have a gameplan on how they are going to attack this offseason as far as acquisitions, but thats the thing that REALLY scares me....

Posted by: hackney | Feb 23, 2010 4:32:27 PM

It will be interesting to see how he handles not being offered the big $$ that he is expecting...many observers have said that he would be lucky to be offered $10MM/yr in the currently climate (economy and CBA).

I for one hate to see him go, but understand the economics of it. I bet that he wishes he had signed before the '08 season or even the offer made prior to last season.

Would be very interesting to know what the offer was for last year prior to the season, for comparison purposes.

Posted by: KY | Feb 23, 2010 4:32:44 PM

What a joke keep Jake and get rid of Julius I guess the frachise tag will go on Hurney.

Posted by: greene | Feb 23, 2010 4:33:40 PM

No.

Posted by: Bob Johnson | Feb 23, 2010 4:35:58 PM

Hard to believe it's come to this. Mr. Richardson's loyalty was pushed too far in my opinion, and he's not a man to be trifled with. Good luck to Julius and to the Panthers.

Posted by: Dormouse | Feb 23, 2010 4:37:51 PM

@hellfish

Kris Jenkins? LOL that pot smoking fatty. He wouldn't listen to any of the coaches and refused to drop pounds to fit the defensive scheme (and because the man was teetering on 400). So we traded him to the Jets, COMPLETELY new scheme that fits him better as a fatty (personally he was better as the pass rusher in a 4-3 like in 2003, but you can't pass rush at a generous 365 pounds). And we know he isn't REALLY as good as they say he is. The typical New York media overrated him like they have Sanchez and many other players.

Is he bad? NO, he's very good and deservedly a probowler. But he is overrated (did the jets miss him when he went down? nope) and I don't have any animosity towards Fox and Hurney for wanting to get rid of a guy who just wouldn't get with the program. And also, he was coming back from two straight seasons of knee injuries and didn't have a great return directly after.

Posted by: Gamble20 | Feb 23, 2010 4:40:21 PM

I sure hope he finds his happy place. $$$ won't do it. Living in his home state won't do it. Stupid is as stupid does.

Posted by: Ernie | Feb 23, 2010 4:40:37 PM

WHAT ABOUT AaRON KAMPMAN?

Posted by: J.E.MITCHELL | Feb 23, 2010 4:41:37 PM

Wow I support the decision to let him go but some of you are way too hateful. Peppers did a lot of good for this organization and although his heart might not have been in it the last two years we never would have made it to the SuperBowl that year without him. We wouldn't have done a lot that we did without Peppers. Again I am ready for change but he will always be one of the best Panthers in team history.

-T

Posted by: Tucker | Feb 23, 2010 4:45:11 PM

"What a joke keep Jake and get rid of Julius I guess the frachise tag will go on Hurney."

Oh, are you saying we should cut Delhomme and then franchise Julius? So we're gonna pay Jake a massive bonus just to NOT play or even practice with us, even as a third string backup if even that, but you do want to pay 21.5 million to Mr. takes every other play off? Give me a break.

The loss of Julius may actually clear up some salary and make Jerry more comfortable paying Jake his bonus money so its not a hindrance when (if) the cap is reinstituted after 2010. But even if they don't cut him, who cares.

Or do you just hate Hurney? Hurney has been below average in free agency, but there is no question when it comes to the draft Hurney and Fox have been phenomenal. Not perfect, NOBODY is. But they are one of the best. Just look at the last 8 draft picks in the first round. Nobody has had 8 straight probowl caliber players with the first round pick, not any of the 32 franchises since Hurney joined.

Posted by: Gamble20 | Feb 23, 2010 4:45:43 PM

peppers is done, we've used him up.

but Jake is fresh and good for a few more yrs

Posted by: Sean May | Feb 23, 2010 4:46:08 PM

I agree we shouldn't hate Peppers. He was a talented player, and he did play well when he tried. He'll go down as a very good player.

He just isn't worth that much money. Thats all there is to it.

Posted by: Gamble20 | Feb 23, 2010 4:46:49 PM

"The FA talent out there is so weak, that is why keeping the talent that you do have this offseason is so important"

We need that money to sign Davis and Moore and maybe Richard Marshall, and there are plenty of restricted free agents such as Elvis Dumerville, Vincent Jackson ect. that may be available.

Even so, you are missing the point. Hurney is clearly interested in resigning Kahlil and Deangelo and Beason ASAP and all three could demand big deals. Paying a crazy amount of money to peppers would make it near impossible to get all three or even two out of the three.

We have to move on, the man is 30 years old. We have had some excellent drafts the past 3-4 years and those guys contracts are ending soon. Beason, Davis, Deangelo, Kahlil, those are all guys that can be the new core of our football team for another 5 years. I don't think any of them are older than 26.

Posted by: Gamble20 | Feb 23, 2010 4:49:58 PM

Why not put the transition tag on him and have the right to match the offer? This decision obviously came from Jerry.

Posted by: Ben | Feb 23, 2010 4:50:53 PM

If Aaron Kampmann can be signed for 6-7 million per season for a 2-3 year deal that may be a good move. Just at least as a fallback option if Everette Brown never really develops as a fulltime starter. It would add much needed depth.

Posted by: Gamble20 | Feb 23, 2010 4:52:10 PM

"Why not put the transition tag on him and have the right to match the offer? This decision obviously came from Jerry."

I thought that in the last year of the CBA (2010) the transition tag was dissolved. Also, I thought after a certain number of years experience you can't tag the player. Like after 8 seasons he can only be franchised. I may be misunderstanding though but I thought thats what I heard. Thats why nobody else is getting the transition tag. It may have been a very smart move.

But your right obviously Jerry said I don't want this guy just let him go.

Posted by: Gamble20 | Feb 23, 2010 4:54:11 PM

Go to hell Peppers! I hope you blow out both of your knees in your first game! Try not to take plays off at your next stop!

Posted by: stickyd | Feb 23, 2010 4:54:42 PM

Well, looks like another rocky year ahead... The only games that I'll be watching this year will be on TV.

Im not spending another dime on this franchise until the front office shows me they know what the hell they are doing!JR is like some old guy asleep at the wheel and lets Fox and Hurney run the team into the ground! The Panthers could have at least talked to the guy after the season. 90 had a good year, was happy with the system and had a positive outlook on the team. It seemed that he WANTED to be here and if that was the case we could have gotten a long term deal done. Now, who is gonna replace him? Everette Brown? Tyler Brayton? Sheesh...

Posted by: Fred | Feb 23, 2010 5:01:28 PM

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