Cris Collinsworth Was Right: Julius Peppers Nearly Returned to the Panthers

Bill VothNews, Week 114 Comments

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Midway through the second quarter of Thursday night’s NFL opener between the Packers and Seahawks, NBC’s Cris Collinsworth spilled the beans on a story that never became one. “Julius Peppers really had never played at outside linebacker. He was getting ready to go to Carolina, thinking he’d just go home and finish his career there,” Collinsworth said. “Then the Green Bay Packers called and said, ‘How’d you like to be a stand-up, 3-4 outside linebacker?’ And he said, ‘I’ve been waiting my whole life to do that.’” Many Panthers fans who were watching likely rewound their DVRs to make sure they heard correctly, but the fact is, Collinsworth was right. Peppers, a North Carolina native who played eight years in Charlotte, did talk with the Panthers about a reunion when free agency began in March, and the interest was mutual. Peppers is close with Carolina defensive end Charles Johnson and defensive line coach Eric Washington. Plus some of the hard feelings built up during his final years in Charlotte had dissipated. The Panthers front office believes a team can never have too many pass rushers, and Peppers could have spelled Johnson and defensive end Greg Hardy. The conversations with Peppers had nothing to do with Hardy’s contract situation. The team’s franchise player was tagged a couple weeks earlier. While playing outside linebacker may have been intriguing to Peppers, the most-appealing offer the Packers made was financially. A 3-year, $26 million contract was impossible to pass up. So in the end, money spoke. It’s hard to blame Peppers, but it’s a reminder that even if a team doesn’t make a splash in free agency, that doesn’t mean it didn’t try.

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  • kepickle

    I didn’t know this but I would expect it was just a 1 or 2 yr deal for Vet Min. deal and if he agreed to it & Gettlemen & Rivera was ok with it I’m alright with it

  • PanthersPride95

    The hard feelings aren’t gone. Any true Panther fan would not want him back. He took so many pays off and just turned his back on the team. Peppers can go retire else where I don’t want a lazy player on this team, he had the talent to be one of the greatest ever but never played up to the level of talent he had. If there is anything missed about him it’s his field goal blocker but that would be it.

  • ndub

    Eh, bygones are bygones. I’d trust Gettleman’s/Rivera ‘ judgment on it, and if they were ok with it, then I’d be. I’m also ok with him not being back. And, I am a true Panthers fan.

  • MichaelShanePorter

    PanthersPride95 Yeah F JP, I named him Fredo because he’s dead to me.

  • R C S

    Sorry, I do not think the fans would have allowed it.

  • IKinlaw

    willjones1986 Lilpopester damn man that would of been sick

  • JoshuaMaffe

    I’ve gotten over the Peppers thing. Him leaving led us to Greg Hardy and The Kraken is one of my favorite players. If Peppers would’ve come back or if he does. I would dig through my buckets at home and find my old Julius Peppers jersey and don it again.

  • R C S

    JoshuaMaffe  Sorry, I  can not get past his antic’s no more then I can get over the Kraken.  I realize Pro Life is a money game and  you get what you can when you can, but in both of these cases the team makeup made the difference. Neither Peppers of the Kraken would have stood as much as they did without the other three players on the front line.  Look at the team makeup to see for  yourself.

  • kepickle

    FANS ALLOWED IT  really Well it isn’t up to the Fans the Fans didn’t want John Kasay cut he was ,the Fans didn’t want Brad Hoover cut he was ,the Fans wanted Clausen cut after his rookie yr he wasn’t, the fans wanted Jake Delhomme cut 2 yrs after he was,90% of the Fans didn’t want Smith cut he was 90% didn’t want Ron RIvera here he was hired,

    I can go on & on so tell me again what does the fans have to do with it & before you say we bye the tickets most Tickets sells are forced on fans who own PSL’s & most of those don’t go to games thats why the Panthers Front office & the NFL brag that this a game being sold out than only 50 % or less of the  seats are fills

  • JimmieDeeThorne

    R C S JoshuaMaffe Peppers made others on the line better when he was in Carolina.  Not the other way around.  He drew the double teams and line protection was slid to his side.  No one else on the line were batting down and intercepting balls regulary like Peppers.  The Panthers didn’t even have to blitz

  • R C S

    JimmieDeeThorne R C S JoshuaMaffe I am not saying Peppers was not good, but consider Rikert at the other end, and ????? the two tackles.  Peppers was a pass rusher but not a run stopper.  No question he helped solidify the front 4, but just like the Kracken it’s a team sport and when a linemen takes the double team off the DE’s it makes a lot of difference.

  • R C S

    kepickle  You are right the fans have nothing to do with it, except don’t for a moment think that Mr R does not think about the reaction of the FANS.  Mr R would bring back Kassy, Delhomme, for a one day retirement, Hoover already retired as a Panther, but I think Mr R would think twice about Peppers. Peppers got 16 Million for the season and  you could tell he was making just enough effort to move on with big BUCKS to a higher profile team as he did not think the Panthers could make it to the SB, the same way the Kracken thinks.

  • kepickle

    R C S kepickle yes Mr. JR cares what the Fans think because it was the fans who told him we had to keep DeAngelo & Stewart here & when the Lockout ended it was JR who called Hurney & said Resign Johnson & KEEP DeAngelo,also i remember how pissed off John Fox was when JR told him to start Matt Moore after the Fans Demanded it but i don’t think JR does that anymore I could be wrong though but i think Gettlemen changed that  when he came here

  • JoshuaMaffe

    R C S JoshuaMaffe When did I ever say anything about Peppers ability to play vs. the rest of his line. All I said is I would be able to dig up my old jersey and wear it. You can’t tell me bringing Peppers back wouldn’t have been awesome considering it would add more depth and strength to our D-Line which is already pretty dominant.