Veteran sack artist Julius Peppers will never forget his 100th sack.
“I never got to tell him this before he left, but I’ll tell him one day. A pass-rusher, 100 sacks is a milestone for everybody who gets 100 sacks,” he said.
“And my 100th sack was on Joe Webb.”
It was Week 17 of the 2011 season, and the the Minnesota Vikings, for whom Webb was playing quarterback in place of Donovan McNabb, were losing to the Chicago Bears – Peppers’ team at the time – 17-13 in the fourth quarter.
Webb was looking for receivers on second and 10 when Peppers and former Bears defensive tackle Matt Toeaina laid the lumber for a loss of 3 yards. Peppers’ half-sack gave him 100, and the Bears pulled out the victory.
Peppers, notoriously quiet in the locker room, never quite got around to reminding Webb of that factoid (although based on the hulking size and notoriety of the defensive end, it’s likely Webb remembers getting hit by him).
Webb, a dual threat quarterback who made a career out of his play-anywhere versatility, was released by Carolina during its roster cutdowns immediately before the season. It was a move that surprised both the Panthers’ locker room and the team that ultimately picked Webb up: The Buffalo Bills.
“We were real fortunate, real fortunate – I was kind of a little bit surprised that he became available,” said Bills head coach Sean McDermott, who took his first head coaching job this spring after over half a decade as Carolina’s defensive coordinator. The Bills, who visit the Panthers on Sunday at 1 p.m., signed Webb two days after his release.
Webb’s presence was coveted in the Bills locker room, according to former Panthers fullback Mike Tolbert, also now with the Bills.
“Once I heard the Panthers cut him, I was on the phone with Coach McDermott and (former Panthers assistant general manager, now-Buffalo general manager Brandon) Beane like, ‘What’s up? Like, this guy’s a dog. He’s an animal. We need him,’” said Tolbert on Wednesday afternoon.
“And they were like, ‘Mike, he’s already on his way up here to work out.’
“And I was like, ‘Cool.’”
McDermott not only loves Webb’s energy, but the knowledge the former Panthers third-string quarterback has of Carolina’s offense with fresh weapons Christian McCaffrey, Russell Shepard and Curtis Samuel.
But if Webb gets any playing time at quarterback on Sunday afternoon ...
... Peppers may take the opportunity to remind him of sack No. 100 with sack No. 145.