Julius Peppers will always be remembered most fondly as a member of the Carolina Panthers, but he was a sure-fire star when he suited up for the Chicago Bears:
Peppers announced his retirement from football today and shared some love for Bears fans and the city he called home from 2010 through 2013 over at The Players’ Tribune.
“Bears fans … man … I could not have chosen a better place to make my first stop outside of North Carolina. You were so welcoming and so supportive. I was very proud to wear that uniform. I’ll always love the city of Chicago.”
Right back at ya, big guy!
Peppers was a big-ticket free agent when he hit the market in 2010 and the Bears were so intent on landing him, Head Coach Lovie Smith flew to the star’s Carolina home to make the recruiting pitch himself at midnight at the start of free agency. The Bears signed Peppers and the rest – 37.5 sacks, 10 forced fumbles, 7 recoveries, three interceptions, and one defensive touchdown in 64 games over four years – is history.
Peppers definitely hit all the right notes when announcing his retirement in this video released by the Panthers:
Julius Peppers has something to say… pic.twitter.com/VKGjFmlWum
— Carolina Panthers (@Panthers) February 1, 2019
Peppers is a future Hall of Famer whose career began as the No. 2 pick of the John Fox led Carolina Panthers back in 2002. His career featured a stand-out first season in which he became the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year, starting him on a path that finished with 159.5 career sacks, 9 Pro Bowl appearances, 3 first-team All-Pro nominations, and 1 slot on the 2000s All-Decade Team.
No matter which way you slice it, Peppers was elite. And while the Bears didn’t win it all while he was here, I’m thankful for the good times I had watching him run down opposing quarterbacks.