The following fanpost comes courtesy of Will Parker, long time Panther fan and CSR reader
Julius Peppers has been quite the odd ball when compared to many of the other elite sports stars in this era. He has always shied away from the spot light, rarely doing interviews and almost never seeking them out. In a time where TV, radio, and print exposure can bring in a fortune for any star athlete, I do not think I have ever seen one thing that Pep has promoted. So when his rookie contract finally came to an end and he stated his interest in playing for a NFL team based outside of North Carolina, he was just doing what he normally does, be different.
More after the jump
Many people, myself included, thought he would want to finish his career with the Panthers and stay in the state that raised him, so to speak. For those that do not know, Julius Peppers went to high school in Nash county (about 30 minutes east of Raleigh), played both basketball and football at a high level for UNC Chapel Hill, and up to this point has only played professionally for the Carolina Panthers.
No matter which team he went to, Julius would have become even more rich than he already is. Not only that, to my knowledge, he has never signed an endorsement deal. Because of those reasons, it shocked me when a guy was being thought of by many people as greedy. Yes, he is scheduled to make around $18 million this year, but if he was all about the Benjamins, then why not seek out deals for 6 hour energy, go get daddy.com, over armour, SPike nARQ, etc? Why not go out and try and talk your way out of the Cincy Bengals, err Carolina Panthers?
Peppers has been quoted recently in the Charlotte Observer as being 100% committed to the Panthers.
“That's been my attitude and approach in every season I've played. I have no reason not to put forth full effort in any game that I play.”
Here is a link to read the rest of that article/interview. Until I have more substantial evidence than some statistical analysis to make me think otherwise, I will continue to believe him. What actions has he had which make him not a man of his word? If he were taking plays off, don't you think at least one player would step up and call him out on it? The only thing I heard from players on the Panthers during this whole off-season fiasco was how much they wanted him back. These guys know how much money he was due to be paid. They are relatively intelligent men. They would have known the ramifications of his cap hit. Yet they all supported him and wanted him back, in the trenches, fighting side-by-side. To me that speaks volumes.
For those of you reading this that are Panther fans, the only thing you need to know is that Julius Peppers is still a Carolina Panther. I urge you to stand and cheer for him as loud as ever when he gets introduced to those at Bank of America stadium for the first time in '09. Remember this, he could have been a lot worse, both as a player and as a person. Does anyone remember Courtney Brown? Would any of you rather he had the personality of an OchoCinco? With the start of training camp today, a new NFL season is upon us, one in which I believe we have a very real shot at a Super Bowl. Ask yourself this, do you want to start possibly our first Super Bowl season off by booing one of our own? Come on now, just because we play the Eagles and the Jets doesn't mean we have to act like them. I have enjoyed writing this post. My hope is that it at least made you think. Go Panthers!!!