Julius Peppers hits Aaron Rodgers and causes a fumble during last year's season finale at Soldier Field. Rodgers said he's glad he doesn't have to run from Peppers anymore. Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports photograph

Pepping it up with Julius Peppers

Julius Peppers will wear number 56 in 2014 with his new team - the Green Bay Packers. Photo courtesy of packers.com

Julius Peppers will wear number 56 in 2014 with his new team – the Green Bay Packers.
Photo courtesy of packers.com


All of Packers Nation hit the roof with excitement last month when the franchise announced that former Chicago Bear Julius Peppers was signed. That excitement made its way into the facilities at 1265 Lombardi Avenue last week when Peppers walked into the team meeting at the start of the offseason workout sessions.

That is how ESPNwisconsin.com’s Jason Wilde described the reaction of the team when Peppers showed up for workouts.

In Wilde’s piece published yesterday, Packers head coach Mike McCarthy was nearly as giddy as the players in the meeting room when he saw Peppers arrive. He was even more excited to see the reaction of the players and coaches around him.

Talking with reporters at the Robert W. Baird blue carpet at last week’s Wisconsin Sports Awards in Milwaukee, this is how McCarthy described the scene:

“When a guy [like Peppers] walks into the room, you see the reaction. It’s a great fit. We’re glad he’s there. He seems to be comfortable. He’s off to a good start.”

It’s not often that a team signs a guy who’s beenin the NFL since 2002, entering as the number 2 overall pick in that year’s draft out of North Carolina, and then has gone on to register the second-most sacks (118.5) in the NFL and forced the fifth-most fumbles (39). In addition, Peppers has the most interceptions over that span among defensive linemen. That’s not to mention that he’s played in 186 of the possible 192 games over that span of time.

What’s even better is that Peppers, the former Chicago Bear who was released by the team at the start of the free agency period, has come north with plans to put the hurt on his former team, as well as every opponent on the Packers’ 2014 schedule.

McCarthy added: “He’s someone we have such great respect for, competing against him the last four years down there in Chicago. We’re glad he’s a Packer.”

Quarterback Aaron Rodgers feels the same: “It’ll be fun to get him really into the fold and get him feeling like he’s part of the team, encouraging him to be a leader for us. I think he brings a lot to the table — on the field and in the locker room. I’m just excited about not having to run away from him anymore.”

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