Former Carolina Panther defensive end Julius Peppers is one of the greatest football players to ever wear a Carolina jersey. Most Carolina Panther fans today will dispute that claim considering Peppers doesn't wear that particular jersey anymore.
What you cannot dispute is his individual stats and teams wins versus losses while Peppers was on the Panther roster.
Julius Peppers was a member of the Carolina Panthers from 2002-2009, logging 81 sacks for the Panthers in 8 seasons. During that span, the Panthers won 71 regular season games and lost 57. A winning percentage of 56%.
The Carolina Panthers have played exactly 100 regular season games without Peppers on the roster and logged a regular season record of 46-66 without Peppers on the team roster, including an 0-4 record this season. That equals a winning percentage of 46%.
It is clear that the loss of Peppers has had a huge impact on the Panthers and the gain of Peppers has made a significant difference for the Chicago Bears who are 3-1 with Peppers in 2010.
The current defensive linemen playing for Carolina are in no way the same atmosphere as Peppers. In comparison, Peppers has 83 career sacks at age 30. The closest player in the Carolina lineup to that number is DE Tyler Brayton who has 15 career sacks, and is also 30 years of age.
On Wednesday during a conference call with some members of the Charlotte media, Peppers claimed his career with Carolina was good, up until the end when it got real sour. Peppers said he understood the decision, but was disrespected at the way it was handled.
“That’s a business decision. I can understand and respect that,” Peppers said. “The problem that I had was they tried to turn the tables and make it look like I wanted out no matter what. Really, I didn’t have the option to stay. It was never offered to stay.”
“So when I say it ended a little sour, I felt like it could have been a little more respectful. At least a phone call to say, ‘It’s been good. We’re going in a different direction. We’re going to let you go.’ They couldn’t even give me that.”
Julius Peppers is one of the finest athletes in the NFL today. A fact that can hardly be argued, considering he is the only person to ever play in the Super Bowl and the Final Four.
I expect to see Jordan Gross with his hands full of Peppers most of the day this Sunday, and rookie QB Claussen will feel the impact of the teams decision not to re-sign him first hand. I expect Peppers will have a big game against Carolina.