PredatorPeppers Nov 18, 2:25 a.m.
Bears defensive end Julius Peppers is nicknamed "The Freak" because of his extremely rare combination of size and athleticism. But that's not the only key to his success.
In presenting a Brian Piccolo Award to the 6-7, 287-pounder Tuesday at Halas Hall, Bears defensive line coach Mike Phair lauded Peppers' work ethic and attention to detail.
"You see a guy that's one of the better football players that's ever played this game and each and every day in practice he's the first guy in line," Phair said.
"He works extremely hard and he's very coachable. In meetings, he's a guy that takes great notes. That's one of the things that you could take for granted: 'Hey, I'm a pro. I've been here. I know the system.' But he's taking notes like a rookie. That's very impressive."
Peppers' attention to detail stems from his desire to continually improve, something he's done throughout his career. Selected by the Carolina Panthers with the second pick in the 2002 draft, he has been voted to eight Pro Bowls, including three in as many years with the Bears.
"I always like to take notes because you never know it all," Peppers said. "Once you think you know it all, that's when you start falling off. It's always good to try to get a little better every day."
About this time a year ago Carolina Panthers linebacker Jon Beason was calling out teammate Julius Peppers publicly, raising an issue of Peppersï¿½ perceived ï¿½intensity.ï&i
Now he would be very, very happy if Peppers left any intensity back in Chicago when the Bears go to Charlotte to play Peppersï¿½ former team.
ï¿½I think Pep is going to go down as one of the best ever,ï¿½ Beason said. ï¿½Truly a specimen and heï¿½s an addition to any football team, any defense. The difference is, now that Iï¿½m playing outside [linebacker], that things are more clear to me how important it is having a big dominant D-end.ï¿½
Indeed you sometimes donï¿½t appreciate what you had ï¿½til itï¿½s gone. So it is with Peppers and the Panthers from whom heï¿½s gone now after eight seasons in Carolina.
Beason, suffering through an 0-3 start then and an 0-4 one now, subsequently explained his comments about Peppersï¿½ made to a Charlotte radio station. He has gained an even greater appreciation of what Peppers was facing week after week.
ï¿½I was able to witness it first hand for three years the different schemes Pep had to deal with every Sunday as far as sliding offensive linemen his way and backs chipping in before they went out,ï¿½ Beason said.
ï¿½It was tough on him but if youï¿½re playing opposite him, you should definitely be excited about it because he will definitely command that attention.ï¿½
PredatorPeppers Nov 18, 2:21 a.m.
Now that he’s accomplished the change, Peppers wants to finally silence the critics. One NFL coach who worked with Peppers in Carolina, held the same beliefs about a perceived lack of effort from the defensive end.
“When we were evaluating before we got him, I thought that too. Then one of our coaches gave me tape from the  combine,” the coach said. “He said watch this one first; then watch Julius. I watched the first guy, he’s straining through this drill, grunting, making all kinds of faces. Right after that, Peppers comes up and goes through the same drill [the coach imitates an effortless run]. Smooth. You look at your watch, and Peppers just smoked the time [of the player in the first drill]. He just makes it look so easy sometimes it looks like he’s not trying.”
Peppers laughed at the story, before agreeing and adding his spin.
“You know, I think sometimes certain players – and I don’t name names – but certain players have a certain haircut, they have certain sack celebrations. They draw a lot of attention to themselves. That stuff can make it seem like you’re playing hard when really, you’re playing [about the same] as everybody else,” Peppers said. “You’re just bringing that extra attention to yourself. Just because I go about it mild mannered and I don’t do all of that stuff, maybe that’s something to talk about, too. If you hear [the criticism] from a coach that’s a different story. But I have yet to hear that from a coach. People who say it and watch the game don’t really understand my responsibilities on certain plays. If my play is not to run and chase the ball, if my play is to stay backside, then I’ve got to stay backside. I’ve got to be disciplined. I can’t run across the field and chase stuff that’s not mine. I can’t help that stuff comes easy sometimes; easier than somebody else. So I deal with it and hopefully, after this year, people won’t say that anymore.”
Still, critics will justifiably question whether the Bears paid too much for a player who could be entering the crossroads of his career. There’s also the legitimate concern that Peppers -- now that he’s received the big paycheck (he’ll make $40.5 million in the first three years) -- won't be motivated to play hard.
“That’s not my moral fiber, my character,” Peppers said. “I’m not above criticism. I can [take that] constructive[ly]; not saying that I believe it’s true. But if that’s something I have a chance to prove people wrong about, then I welcome that criticism. There’s pressure to perform. Being rewarded by this organization in that way only makes me want to play harder and repay them for what they did for me.”
PredatorPeppers Nov 18, 2:20 a.m.
In Charlotte, N.C., they still talk about the back-to-back plays Julius Peppers made in a game in Denver in 2004.
On third-and-3, he pushed Broncos quarterback Jake Plummer out of bounds on a bootleg after a 2-yard gain. Then on fourth-and-1, he intercepted Plummer's pass and ran it back 97 yards.
That is how Peppers will be remembered by John Fox, the only NFL head coach Peppers has known.
"Pep's a heck of a player," Fox said Monday. "I knew he'd be a guy who would be one of the first to get signed. He hasn't had any injuries. He's clean as a whistle medically. I know he's 30, but he looks just like he did when he was 22."
Fox dispelled the notion that the Bears' new defensive end takes a lot of plays off. He said effort was not a problem for Peppers.
"He trains and works hard," Fox said. "He's a great kid. He's quiet, but he leads by example."
Chicago Bears coach Lovie Smith and defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli approached the offseason evaluation of defensive end Julius Peppers with caution.
The second overall pick in the 2002 NFL draft, Peppers was a five-time Pro Bowl selection who had racked up 25 sacks in the previous two seasons, yet, during the 2010 offseason, he was an unrestricted free agent.
“We did a lot of homework on him,” Smith said, “and everything came back the same.”
Despite his immense NFL success – 81 sacks in his first eight seasons – Peppers was dogged by questions that he wasn’t consistent and that he didn’t fulfill his potential. So Smith wanted to be comfortable that Peppers was going to be a cornerstone defender and not a free-agent disaster.
Smith sought the input of numerous people he trusted, including his friend Ron Meeks, the Carolina Panthers’ defensive coordinator in 2009 and 2010.
“ ‘One of the best guys you will have a chance to coach,’ ” Smith recalled one person telling him. “Everything was positive.”
Peppers was an exception, so the Bears made an exception.
PredatorPeppers Nov 18, 2:17 a.m.
"He had it [the reputation] coming out of college," Trgovac said Tuesday at Super Bowl media day. "I always attribute it to [the fact] he's so smooth and natural. I was his position coach his rookie year, and he was rookie of the year by the way, and he only played 12 games. I did every [college] game on him because we had just been hired there in Carolina and Houston already said they were going to take quarterback David Carr, so we had to choose between Julius and Joey Harrington.
"People always talked about him taking plays off and doing this, but he's just so smooth and natural that he does things so easy that people think he's being lazy. But Julius plays hard. That reputation has always followed him, and maybe will always follow him for his whole career. I don't know, I hope not, because he is a really good guy. He commands a lot of attention. What was really impressive for us [in Carolina] was his work ethic in practice. He busts his but in practice and I don't think the kid ever got enough credit for that."
PredatorPeppers Nov 18, 2:12 a.m.
College Football Awards and honors
Sporting News Freshman All-American (1999)
First-team All-ACC (2000)
Second-team Associated Press All-American (2000)
Second-team Football News All-American (2000)
Division I-A sacks leader (2000)
First-team All-ACC (2001)
Consensus first-team All-American (2001)
Bronko Nagurski Trophy finalist (2001)
Chuck Bednarik Award (2001)
Bill Willis Trophy (2001)
Lombardi Award (2001)
NFL awards and honors
NFL Rookie of the Month (10/02)
2002 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year
Pro Football Weekly All-Rookie Team (2002)
2004 NFL Alumni Defensive Lineman of the Year
2004 NFC Defensive Player of the Year
2013 Brian Piccolo Award
NFL 2000s All Decade Team
Pro-Football-Reference All 2000s Team
100 Sacks Club
2004, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 NFC Pro Bowl
2004, 2006, 2010 All-Pro First Team
2008, 2009, 2012 All-Pro Second Team
Five time NFC Defensive Player of the Week (11/13/06, 11/9/08, 11/1/09, 11/18/10,12/23/12)
Four time NFC Defensive Player of the Month (11/2004, 10/2006, 11/2010, 11/2011)
Panthers franchise records
Most career sacks: (81)
Most career forced fumbles: (30)
Longest Interception return: 97 yards (vs. Denver Broncos 10/10/04)
NFL records and accomplishments
Eighteenth most sacks in NFL history: 115.5
Tied for fifth most double digit sack seasons in NFL history: 8
Tied for fourth most games with at least three sacks: 9
Tied for fifteenth most multiple sack games in NFL history: 29
Tenth most forced fumbles in NFL history: 38
Second most interceptions by a defensive lineman in NFL history: 9
Most interception return yards by a defensive lineman in NFL history: 192 yds
Most interception return yards in a single season by a defensive lineman in NFL history: 143 yds
Most interception return yards in a single game by a defensive lineman in NFL history: 97 yds
Longest interception return by a defensive lineman in NFL h
PredatorPeppers Nov 18, 2:09 a.m.
LOL at this thread, Julius Peppers is 10 x the player Mario Williams can even dream of being, and a future first ballot Hall of Famer who will be considered the second best defensive end of all time after Reggie White when he decides to hang em up. Better than Deacon Jones and Bruce Smith. LOL at Julius Peppers taking plays off, that is some made up BS that bitter fans and stupid media dummies around Charlotte made up about Peppers. Peppers had a slow start to this season because of a hamstring injury he suffered in training camp, he is now starting to heat up and had a career high 11 tackles today to go along with 2 sacks, 2 QB hits, and 2 stuffs.
WPInDH Nov 13, 7:28 a.m.
at least we no KNOW WHY it (tBOY) ENVIES/STALKS ME so much.
stomponurlogo Nov 12, 10:09 p.m.
While JPep's is infinitely "deeper" than any you'll ever come close to sticking yur filthy, plump widdle faye state toes into.
(Hence, your angst-ridden screeds of pure ENVY.)
Makes us grin real biglike.
WPInDH Nov 12, 7:36 p.m.
Mario's "pool of cash" > his lil beech's "kiddie pool of cash".
stomponurlogo Nov 12, 7:23 p.m.
(Into that giant pool of cash heeheeheeheehee)
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NCHSAA 4A Regional Semifinals DH
NCHSAA 4A Regional Semifinals DH
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