Julius Peppers: Wikis

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Julius Peppers
No. 90     Chicago Bears
Defensive end
Personal information
Date of birth: January 18, 1980 (1980-01-18) (age 30)
Place of birth: Wilson, North Carolina
Height: 6 ft 7 in (2.01 m) Weight: 283 lb (128 kg)
Career information
College: North Carolina
NFL Draft: 2002 / Round: 1 / Pick: 2
Debuted in 2002 for the Carolina Panthers
Career history
 As player:
Roster status: Active
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics as of Week 17, 2009
Tackles     381
Sacks     81.0
Interceptions     6
Stats at NFL.com

Julius Frazier Peppers (born January 18, 1980 in Wilson, North Carolina) is an American football defensive end for the Chicago Bears of the National Football League. He was drafted by the Carolina Panthers second overall in the 2002 NFL Draft. He played college football at North Carolina.

Contents

Early years

The youngest of three siblings, Peppers was born in Wilson, North Carolina, and raised in nearby Bailey. By the time he was a freshman at Southern Nash Senior High School, Peppers had grown to 6 ft 5 in (1.96 m), 225 lb (102 kg). Ray Davis, the football coach at Southern Nash, felt that the hulking teenager would be an asset on the gridiron for the Firebirds, despite the fact that Peppers had never played football before. Davis' gamble would pay off. During his high school career, Peppers played running back and defensive lineman, and finished his career with 3501 rushing yards, and 46 touchdowns, and was one of the most dangerous defensive linemen in the state. He also lettered in basketball and was voted All-Conference, as a power forward, for four consecutive years. In 1998, Southern Nash won the state championship in track for the first time in the school's history. Peppers contributed, as a sprinter, winning the state championship in the 4×200 meter team relay and as a triple jumper. His senior year (1997-98), he was named to the PARADE All-America team in football as an all-purpose talent and was also named Male Athlete of the Year by the North Carolina High School Athletic Association. In 2005, Peppers was named by the Rocky Mount Telegram newspaper as one of the 50 Greatest Athletes from the Nash/Edgecombe (Twin County) area.

College career

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Football

Peppers played defensive end for the UNC Tar Heels, where he won the Chuck Bednarik Award for the nation's top defensive player and the Lombardi Award as the best collegiate lineman in 2001. Peppers also won the Bill Willis Trophy as the nation's best defensive lineman. Peppers redshirted his freshman season. In the three following seasons at North Carolina, Peppers started 33 of the 34 games he played in. He is currently ranked second all-time in UNC history with 30.5 sacks. He accumulated 53 stops behind the line of scrimmage, 167 tackles, five interceptions, two fumble recoveries, five forced fumbles, 13 passes deflected, and 43 quarterback pressures (hurries) and returned two interceptions and one fumble recovery for touchdowns.

Awards and honors

Basketball

While at the University of North Carolina, Peppers was also a walk-on member of the men's basketball team. One of the main reasons he chose UNC over Duke (he was heavily recruited by Duke Coach Mike Krzyzewski to play basketball for Duke) was that Carolina football coach Carl Torbush said he could play football and then be a walk-on for Bill Guthridge on the UNC men's basketball team. He was a key reserve on the 1999-2000 Tar Heels team that made it to the Final Four. Peppers was also a key reserve on the 2000-2001 men's basketball Team. In the NCAA Tournament, Peppers scored 18 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in a loss to Penn State in the second round. After the season, Peppers decided to focus solely on football and academics and did not play basketball in his final season at the University of North Carolina.

Professional career

Carolina Panthers

In the 2002 NFL Draft, Peppers was selected by the Carolina Panthers as the second overall pick behind first overall pick, quarterback David Carr. Peppers ran a 4.68 40-yard dash at 290 pounds (130 kg) and completed 22 bench press reps at his pro day. Peppers made an immediate impact and was named The NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year by the Associated Press. During his rookie season, Peppers tallied 36 tackles, 12 sacks, 1 interception, and 5 forced fumbles. On October 13, 2002, Peppers became only the third player in NFL history to amass three sacks and an interception in the same game. With four games remaining in the season, Peppers was suspended for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy for taking a banned dietary supplement.

In 2003, during the Panthers' Super Bowl run, he had 46 tackles, 7 sacks, and 3 forced fumbles. The next year, Peppers was selected to his first ever Pro Bowl with 65 tackles, 11 sacks, 2 interceptions, 4 forced fumbles, and two touchdowns. On October 15, 2006, Peppers became the Panthers' all-time sacks leader. [1]

Peppers is known as one of the most athletic and versatile players in the NFL. In his career, Peppers has 8 blocked kicks (extra points and field goal attempts). Peppers has had double-digit sacks in all but 2 seasons. In 2008, Julius Peppers was voted to the 2009 Pro Bowl,[2] where he recorded an interception.

Following Mike Minter's retirement, Peppers was named as the Panthers defensive captain. He and Donovan McNabb are the only people to ever play in both the NCAA men's basketball Final Four and the NFL's Super Bowl.[3]

On January 16, 2009, ESPN reported that Peppers told ESPN's Chris Mortensen he does not intend to re-sign a long-term deal and would like to explore options with another team, specifically one with a 3-4 defensive formation. He also expressed the desire or willingness to convert from a Defensive End to an Outside Linebacker. Peppers said he would request a trade if Franchise tagged. However, despite his request, the Panthers would place the Franchise tag on him on February 19.[4]. On February 22, 2010, Adam Schefter reported that the Panthers would not place the franchise tag on Peppers, leaving him an unrestricted free agent, free to pursue a contract with another team.[5]

Chicago Bears

On March 5, 2010, the Chicago Bears signed Peppers to a six-year contract worth $91.5 million, with $42 million guaranteed in the first three years.[6]

NFL awards and honors

  • NFL Rookies of the Month (10/02)
  • 2002 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year
  • 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2010 NFC Pro Bowl
  • 2004, 2006 All-Pro Team
  • NFC Defensive Player of the Month (11/04, 11/08)

Personal

Peppers was born to Bessie Brinkley, when she was 17 years old and gave Julius the last name of her second husband. Peppers has stated that he isn't close with his father, George Kearney, stating "We weren't tight. I mean, I didn't call him up all the time, nothing like that. It was kind of awkward, and it still is now. I can't really get into depth with him in conversation. I really don't feel comfortable talking to him like that. I just don't." Brinkley raised Julius and his older brother and sister in a double wide trailer in Bailey, NC. [7]

In February 2009, Peppers donated $100,000 to a scholarship program that supports African-American students at his alma mater of North Carolina. Peppers's donation will go to the Light on the Hill Society Scholarship, a tribute to UNC's earliest black graduates. It helps alumni and friends support black freshmen who show the potential for academic excellence at UNC and after they graduate.

Peppers is referenced in the Nelly song Heart of a Champion, and made a cameo appearance in Nelly's video "Hot In Herre".

References

External links


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