After 17 seasons, 159.5 sacks and nine Pro Bowl appearances, Julius Peppers has decided to call it a career.
The longtime Carolina Panthers defensive end – and, in all likelihood, future Hall of Famer – announced in an essay for The Players’ Tribune that he will not return to the field in 2019.
“Seventeen years is a long time to be playing this game. It’s two careers for a lot of people,” Peppers wrote on the site. “I’m thankful that I have been able to play so long and still be healthy. I’m not all banged up and beaten down. I still feel good.
“But as much as I would love to play forever, I know that I can’t. It’s gotta end at some point. That point is now.”
One of the most dominant pass-rushers of his era, Peppers went from a unanimous All-American at North Carolina to a three-time All-Pro with his hometown NFL team. The No. 2 overall pick in the 2002 draft racked up 81 sacks and 381 tackles in eight years with the Panthers before shorter stints with the Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers.
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SOURCE: USA Today, Tom Schad