September 16, 2016

Highlighted Year: Julius Peppers, 2004

Defensive End, Carolina Panthers

Age: 24
3rd season in pro football & with Panthers
College: North Carolina
Height: 6’6”   Weight: 283

A college star in both football and basketball, Peppers accounted for 9.5 sacks and 63 tackles as a junior in 2001 and was a consensus All-American who also received the Rotary Lombardi Award as the nation’s best lineman and Chuck Bednarik Award as the leading overall defensive player. He chose to enter the 2002 NFL draft and was taken by the Panthers in the first round (second overall). Peppers immediately moved into the starting lineup at left end and showed off outstanding speed and pass-rushing skill, although he was weaker against the run and was lost for the final four games due to a league suspension for using prohibited dietary supplements. Still, he compiled 12 sacks and was chosen as NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year by the Associated Press and Pro Football Writers. Heavily double-teamed in 2003, Peppers’ sack total dropped to 7 but the line as a whole, which included DE Mike Rucker and DTs Brentson Buckner and Kris Jenkins, excelled as the Panthers won the NFC Championship.

2004 Season Summary
Appeared in all 16 games
[Bracketed numbers indicate league rank in Top 20]

Sacks – 11 [9, tied with Shaun Ellis, Darren Howard & Lance Johnstone]
Most sacks, game – 2 at Kansas City 9/19, vs. Oakland 11/7, at San Francisco 11/14, vs. Arizona 11/21
Multi-sack games – 4
Interceptions – 2
Int. return yards – 143 [6]
Int. TDs – 1 [5, tied with many others]
Fumble recoveries – 1
Fumble recovery TDs – 1
Forced fumbles – 4
Tackles – 52
Assists – 12

Awards & Honors:
1st team All-NFL: AP, PFWA, Sporting News
1st team All-NFC: Pro Football Weekly
Pro Bowl

Panthers went 7-9 to finish third in the NFC South.

Excellent at pursuit and improving against the run, Peppers was named to the Pro Bowl again in 2005 and ’06 and again received consensus first-team All-NFL honors after the latter year. After reaching double figures in sacks for three straight seasons, Peppers dropped to 2.5 in an off-year in 2007, but came back with 14.5 sacks in 2008, the first of five consecutive Pro Bowl seasons. He signed with the Chicago Bears as a free agent in 2010 and, while his sack total dropped to 8, his presence on the line was beneficial overall and he was again a first-team All-NFL selection as well as Pro Bowler. After four years, he was released by the Bears following the 2013 season and signed by Green Bay. Shifted to outside linebacker, he had 7 sacks and two interceptions, both of which he returned for touchdowns, in 2014 and followed up with 10.5 sacks to receive Pro Bowl recognition once more in 2015. An outstanding overall talent, through 14 years Peppers has been a consensus first-team All-NFL choice on three occasions, received at least second-team honors after two other years, and achieved selection to the Pro Bowl nine times. He has accumulated 136 sacks and 11 interceptions through 2015, four of which he returned for touchdowns, and has also had two scores on fumble recoveries.


Highlighted Years features players who were consensus first-team All-League* selections or league* or conference** leaders in the following statistical categories:

Rushing: Yards, TDs (min. 10)
Passing: Yards, Completion Pct., Yards per Attempt, TDs, Rating
Receiving: Catches, Yards, TDs (min. 10)
Scoring: TDs, Points, Field Goals (min. 5)
All-Purpose: Total Yards
Defense: Interceptions, Sacks
Kickoff Returns: Average
Punt Returns: Average
Punting: Average

*Leagues include NFL (1920 to date), AFL (1926), AFL (1936-37), AAFC (1946-49), AFL (1960-69), WFL (1974-75), USFL (1983-85)

**NFC/AFC since 1970