It was Friday morning when the 39-year-old Julius Peppers announced that he would be retiring from the NFL after an impressive 17-year career, that included three of them in Green Bay.
Drafted number two overall way back in the 2002 NFL draft by the Carolina Panthers, Peppers lived up to the expectations that had been set for him early on.
Over his career Peppers played in an incredible 266 games out of a possible 272 in a time when it is rare to see that kind of durability at any position. He was also an absolute menace for opposing quarterbacks, recording double digit sacks in 10 of his 17 seasons and finishing with 159.5 total sacks, good for fourth all time.
After spending the first eight years of his career in Carolina, Green Bay Packers fans became all too familiar with Peppers as he joined the hated Chicago Bears.
In Chicago, Peppers would wreak havoc on Aaron Rodgers and the rest of the Packers offense recording 22 total tackles, 6.5 sacks, and 6 quarterback hits in his eight regular-season games against Green Bay.
Peppers had spent four years as a Chicago Bear and became a free agent after the 2013 season. It was at that time that former Packers General Manager Ted Thompson stunned many around the NFL and signed Peppers to a three-year deal.
As a 34-year-old at the time, it was unclear how much gas Peppers would have left in the tank, but if there were any doubters, he would prove them all wrong.
From day one Peppers had the respect of the Green Bay Packers locker room and was voted team captain in 2014, a title he would hold his entire time in Green Bay.
On the field Peppers appeared in all 48 regular season games and put up monster numbers including 25 sacks, 45 QB hits, 14 pass deflections, 8 forced fumbles and 2 pick-sixes.
Unfortuneatly Peppers was never able to get that elusive Super Bowl title but played in two NFC Championship games during his time as a Green Bay Packer.
After learning the news of Peppers’ retirement, there were many Packer players who had nothing but kind words for Julius including Aaron Rodgers who stated “I love my time with Julius. I love him as a person, as a teammate” via Packers.com.
Rodgers would also add “He’s still a dear friend to this day”.
The feelings were mutual for Peppers who in his Players Tribune farewell had nothing but good things to say about his time as a Packer, “I guess more than anything, Green Bay just felt like home. You know, small town, good people who love their football…it was a really great experience being a part of that culture”.
Peppers put together a Hall of Fame level career on the field and was a role model off of it. Luckily for us Packers fans, three of those fantastic 17 seasons were spent in Green Bay.