Julius Peppers Close to Joining Elite 150-Sack Club

Bleacher Report MilestonesB/R StaffSeptember 8, 2017

CHARLOTTE, NC - AUGUST 31:  Julius Peppers #90 of the Carolina Panthers watches on against the Pittsburgh Steelers during their game at Bank of America Stadium on August 31, 2017 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Carolina Panthers defensive end Julius Peppers needs just 6.5 sacks during the 2017 season to reach 150 for his career. Should he doing so, he would become just the fifth player in NFL history to reach the historic benchmark, per NFL Communications.

The four players to currently claim at least 150 sacks are Chris Doleman (150.5), Kevin Greene (160.0), Reggie White (198.0) and Bruce Smith (200.0). Each of the four players to reach the total also was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Peppers has played for only three teams throughout his 15-year career—the Panthers, the Chicago Bears and the Green Bay Packers. He'll return to Carolina this season, where he spent his first eight years after the club selected him second overall in the 2002 NFL Draft. The nine-time Pro Bowl selection suited up for the Green Bay Packers over the past three years, recording 25.0 sacks.

Arguably Peppers' best stretch with the Panthers occurred from 2004-2006, where he totaled 138 tackles, 34.5 sacks and two interceptions including one for a touchdown. He also forced nine and recovered four fumbles over the three-year span.

His age has been catching up with him in recent seasons, however. The now 37-year-old has recorded more than 7.5 sacks only once over the past four years and made a career-low 15 tackles in 2016, largely being relegated to a pass-rush specialist at this point in his career.

Considering his recent body of work, collecting the 6.5 sacks he needs to hit 150 this season may come down to the wire. Regardless of the outcome, Peppers will go down as one of the best defensive ends in NFL history and will almost certainly be enshrined in Canton when his playing career is over.

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