Julius Peppers could be the 2000 version of Reggie White for Panthers

By
Updated: May 19, 2017

9:24 AM ET

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — We received a lot of great questions about the Carolina Panthers for a slow offseason Friday, but this one about defensive end Julius Peppers from “Wolfpack Bob” intrigued me the most.

The simple answer is no, the 37-year-old Peppers is not too old to be of value. He had 7.5 sacks last season for the Green Bay Packers. That would have ranked second on the Panthers last season to Mario Addison with 9.5.

I liken this situation to another aging veteran defensive end that signed with the Panthers at the end of his career. You may have heard of him — Reggie White.

The “Minister of Defense” was entering his 15th NFL season when he joined the Panthers in 2000. He was 38 and would turn 39 before the end of the year.

But he kept himself in great shape, just as Peppers has, and was a force for opposing offenses.

White had only 5.5 sacks, the lowest of his career, during his swing through Charlotte. But he was of great value even though he played on a bad team that went 7-9. He started 16 games and was a great mentor for a second-year end named Mike Rucker.

Rucker went on to finish with 55.5 career sacks that still ranks third in team history. Having time to develop behind White as a part of a rotation was invaluable.

Peppers, Carolina’s all-time sacks leader, will fill a similar role in a four-man rotation that will include in some form Addison, Charles Johnson, Wes Horton, Ryan Delaire and rookie Daeshon Hall.

He in particular will be invaluable for the leadership he provides for Delaire and Hall, being groomed for the future.

Peppers also will contribute as an every-down end. Defensive line coach Eric Washington recently told the team website that Peppers looked as good as he did seven years ago with the Chicago Bears.

Peppers may not be at the level he was in 2008, when he had a career-best 14.5 sacks in his first go-around with the Panthers. But he’s still a valuable addition to this defense for this season, and with a little luck the next two.

Article source: http://www.espn.com/blog/carolina-panthers/post/_/id/25635/julius-peppers-could-be-the-2000-version-of-reggie-white-for-panthers