Julius Peppers is going back to the place where he made a name for himself as one of the best pass rushers of all time. The 37-year-old will return to the Carolina Panthers after spending three seasons with the Green Bay Packers, according to Pepper’s agent Carl Carey.
The Panthers selected the nine-time Pro Bowler with the second pick in the 2002 draft. From there, Peppers began to wreak havoc on opposing quarterbacks, winning the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2002 and playing in five Pro Bowls as a Panther.
In 2010, Peppers signed with the Chicago Bears and still produced at a high level. In fact, he was selected to three additional Pro Bowls in Chicago. However, the Bears tried to trade the three-time First Team All-Pro in 2014 but wasn’t successful, so they decided to release him.
Peppers went on to sign a three-year deal with Green Bay, but he had to convert to linebacker because the Packers ran a 3-4 defense. While his production decreased as a linebacker, he was successful at getting to the quarterback. In three seasons with the Packers, Peppers recorded 24.5 sacks and eight forced fumbles. He went to his ninth Pro Bowl in 2015.
Now, he’ll return to the place where it all began. Panthers’ defensive end Charles Johnson wants to see Peppers retire as a Panther.
“From a personal opinion and as a friend of his, I just want to see him retire as a Panther,” Johnson told the Charlotte Observer. “I just think him coming back for a year and retiring as a Panther, what better career for him to have, retiring in his home?”
If Carolina is Peppers’ last stop on his NFL journey, he had a heck of a ride and achieved a lot. He has 143.5 sacks in his career.