Just in case there was any thought of a type of farewell tour for Julius Peppers as he returns to the Carolina Panthers this season, the team that drafted him, don’t bet on it. Peppers, 37, might not be playing in his final season either.
“We haven’t really talked about that,” Peppers told WFNZ-AM radio on Wednesday, via The Charlotte Observer.
“I can say this: It’s not one of those situations where I’m coming back for a farewell tour. I’m coming back to play, and I’m coming back to try to make some things happen. So my expectation is to be out there and be productive.”
Peppers who is coming off a solid run with the Green Bay Packers which saw him rack up 18 sacks and four forced fumbles in two seasons, is considering playing at 38.
“Well, right now, I’m taking it one year at a time,” Peppers said. “At the end of the year if I still feel good, then why not?”
It makes sense for there to be a level of high expectations for Peppers’ return to Carolina, especially after his production in Green Bay. Carolina’s defense took a marked step back in 2016, a year after coming up short against the Denver Broncos in the Super Bowl.
Injuries to key players like Luke Kuechley and the loss of Pro Bowl corner Josh Norman in a last-minute roster move which saw him land with the Washington Redskins contributed to the Panthers downward spiral in 2016.
Carolina is hoping the addition of a veteran such as Peppers, plus the return of Kuechley can help bring the Panthers defense back to it’s elite stature and help boost the team back into the NFC Playoffs in 2017.
Peppers signed a one-year, $3.5 million deal that could max out at $4.25 million with incentives and spoke about the desire to return to the Panthers organization a few days ago.
“I always wanted to come back and repair the relationships and build that bridge back, not only with the team but with the fans, the people,” Peppers said an interview with the team’s official website.
“That’s what this game is about; it’s about relationships. That was the most important thing for me to come back and tie up these loose ends and give the fans and everybody another chance to see me wear this uniform again.”
“The growth as a person was important for me,” Peppers said. “Going away and seeing something different, having that experience made me realize that home is where the heart is. That’s what led to my motivation of wanting to come back, missing this place so much.”
“It feels good to be home,” Peppers said. “It actually feels like I never left.”
Ex-Panthers Owner Jerry Richardson Fined $2.75 Million
The National Football League has announced a fine levied on former Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson after finding allegations of workplace misconduct were substantiated.
Per the announcement, most of the funds from the fine will be used to support “organizations dedicated to addressing race and gender-based issues in and outside of the workplace.”
Richardson owned the Panthers from the time of their inception up until their sale earlier this year. The 81-year old announced his intention to sell the team following the scathing report from Sports Illustrated’s L. Jon Werthem and Viv Bernstein exposed sexual harassment and racism allegations against Richardson.
Panthers’ Torrey Smith Said NFL ‘dropped the ball’ With New Anthem Policy
Carolina Panthers wide receiver Torrey Smith is not a fan of the leagues new rule that requires players to either stand during the national anthem or stay in the locker room, saying that the league has “dropped the ball”.
Smith believes that the new policy could have a negative impact as he believes that it can lead to more problems and more protests.
“When you see reactive policy … I always think that’s a problem,” Smith said on Tuesday, according to ESPN. “Especially when the message has been changed and guys aren’t against the military and they’ve been protesting for what [Colin] Kaepernick originally started, against [police] brutality.
“It almost makes it seem like a guy like Kaepernick and Eric Reid and guys who started it originally, like what they did was in vain, like they were villains. That’s not the case.”
“You’re disappointed but not surprised,” Smith said. “At the end of the day, the league is about money, it’s a business. To try to silence those guys when they’re trying to do the right thing for our country, I don’t know what to say about it.
“It could stir things up, which is a problem. Because you’re stirring things up because you’re being told to be quiet, when it could have been done together to figure out what we can do to move forward and what would be best for the players.”
David Tepper Expected To Sign Purchase Deal For Panthers
Current Pittsburgh Steelers minority owner David Tepper is exepcted to to sign a purchase deal that will make him the new owner of the Carolina Panthers, a move that have been rumored for some time, according to ESPN’s Seth Wickersham and Adam Schefter.
The report indicates that the total sale price for the Panthers franchise will be $2.2 billion which will set a record for the highest sale price for an NFL team, surpassing the $1.4 billion pricetag that the Buffalo Bills were sold for back in 2014.
The deal would be expected to be approved at the owners meetings in Atlanta on May 22, and will need approval from the NFL financial committee and then three-fourths approval from the 32 owners to finalize.
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