Ron Rivera’s thoughts on Julius Peppers
Now in their 25th season, the Carolina Panthers have seen several players worthy of immortal recognition. While their Hall of Honor currently only contains one former player, that number will grow as early as next week.
The team announced Thursday it will add to its Hall of Honor, with a social media video featuring owner David Tepper making a call to an undisclosed former player. In the video, Tepper tells the player Carolina will expand its Hall of Honor and the player will “be in the first class of that expansion.”
Tepper alluded to this coming expansion when he met with local media in January. The team’s website said the official announcement will come Monday.
Former linebacker Sam Mills II is the only former Panther currently inducted in the Hall of Honor, along with the team’s PSL owners and former general manager and president, Mike McCormack. As fans await the unveiling of the newest class of honorees, a few names that may be included immediately come to mind:
The former third-round pick is arguably the franchise’s best NFL Draft selection ever, accumulating 12,197 of his 14,731 career receiving yards during his 13 seasons in Carolina. He finished his career a member of the Baltimore Ravens, but is still the Panthers’ all-time leader in receiving yards, receptions and receiving touchdowns.
The receiver nicknamed “Moose” was Carolina’s primary threat before Steve Smith’s arrival, and finished his career with 9,255 yards and 50 touchdowns on 696 catches while wearing a Panthers jersey. He briefly left Carolina for the Chicago Bears before returning for the final two seasons of his career but is second to Smith in every major receiving category.
Cam Newton is the Panthers’ all-time leading passer, but before him came former undrafted quarterback Jake Delhomme, who piloted the Panthers’ offense for seven seasons. A Pro Bowler in 2005, Delhomme led Carolina to the Super Bowl during the 2003 season, and threw for 19,258 yards and 120 touchdowns against 89 interceptions during his time with the franchise.
A surefire Hall of Famer when he’s eligible, Peppers collected 97 of his 159.5 career sacks in a Panthers uniform, as well as five of his nine Pro Bowl selections and two of his three first-team All-Pro selections. He retired after the 2018 season but there are few, if any, players more deserving of a Hall of Honor spot than the former No. 2 overall pick in 2002.
Greene’s time in Carolina was short, but he piled up an astounding 41.5 sacks in just three seasons with the franchise, boosting his total to 160 for his career. While he spent fewer seasons with the Panthers than any other player on this list, Greene’s impact is tough to overlook.