The legendary defensive end has announced his retirement after 17 NFL seasons, the majority of them with the Carolina Panthers. In short order, he'll be bound for the Hall of Fame.
A two-sport athlete at the University of North Carolina, the Panthers selected the gigantic, outrageously athletic Peppers No. 2 overall in the 2002 NFL Draft and never looked back. What followed was about as good a career a defensive player can possibly have in this league: with Carolina, Chicago, and Green Bay, Peppers made nine Pro Bowls, six All-Pro teams, and finishes No. 4 on the all-time sacks list.
Not bad for a guy who had to wait to be drafted after David Carr.
Julius Peppers: 159.5 sacks (4th most all time), 16 seasons with 5.0 sacks, 11 seasons with 10.0 sacks, 11 INT (2nd most by a DE of all time), 6 total games missed in 17 seasons. First ballot Hall of Famer.— Field Yates (@FieldYates) February 1, 2019
There's no replacing a guy like Peppers, who played all 16 games for the Panthers in 2018, his age 38 season. Singularly dominant forces like him only come around once in a great while.
So for now, let's let the cascade of highlights and overall freakish athleticism wash over us like a deluge. We salute you, JP. See you in Canton.