Carolina Panthers defensive end Julius Peppers has been one of the top pass rushers of the past two decades. But now that he’s 39 years old, it seems that Peppers has had to make the tough decision on whether to continue his NFL career.
On Friday morning, the Carolina Panthers released a video with Peppers announcing his retirement.
Peppers thanked the Panthers organization and his teammates for their support throughout the years.
“It’s not goodbye, it’s kind of like, ‘I’ll see you later.'”
Julius Peppers has something to say… pic.twitter.com/VKGjFmlWum
— Carolina Panthers (@Panthers) February 1, 2019
The No. 2 overall pick by the Panthers in the 2002 NFL Draft, Peppers quickly emerged as one of the league’s elite pass rushers.
He was a member of the 2003 Panthers team that won the NFC Championship Game and appeared in Super Bowl XXXVIII.
Peppers had two stints in Carolina: 2002 to 2009, and 2017 to 2018. During his time in Carolina, he made five Pro Bowls and was a First-Team All-Pro selection twice.
From 2010 to 2013, he played four seasons for the Chicago Bears, recording 37.5 sacks with three Pro Bowls and a First-Team All-Pro selection.
After leaving Chicago, he joined the Green Bay Packers in 2014 and played three seasons, recording 25.0 sacks after converting to an outside linebacker.
He retires with the fourth-highest official sack total in NFL history with 159.5, second in forced fumbles with 52, and second in tackles for loss with 175.
Peppers was voted to the NFL’s 2000s All-Decade Team, and was the only remaining defender from that team still active in 2018.
He will be eligible for the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2024.