Inside the Panthers

Panthers DE Julius Peppers’ milestone is impressive to everyone ... except Peppers


That’s how 16-year NFL veteran defensive end Julius Peppers responded to the news that his 151st sack, which came against Tampa Bay quarterback Jameis Winston and forced a fumble, pushed him to fourth place in NFL history since sacks became an official statistic.

Oh, and with a shrug, too.

Just another day in the life of a future first-ballot Hall of Famer.

“That’s how I feel. Really,” he said, after the Panthers’ 17-3 victory over the Bucs on Sunday. “It’s nice. When I’m done, when I hang ‘em up, I’ll be like, ‘That was pretty nice. That’s a pretty big accomplishment.’ But right now, I’m in the midst of it. And I don’t have time to celebrate. We got another game next week.”

There has only been one season (2007), in fact, during which Peppers did not have at least seven sacks. Through eight games of his second stint with Carolina, he has 7.5. At 37, it seems at times unimaginable that Peppers can still produce a fearsome edge rush with that much consistency.

“(Consistency) is important, because that says a lot about you,” he said. “Not only in your profession, but in your personal life. You try to stay consistent with everything you do. I continue to come to work and I don’t think I’m bigger than the game, or bigger than being coached.

“I come in every day with the work ethic of trying to get better. And it’s not all me. It’s (defensive line coach) Eric (Washington), it’s the rest of the defensive line. We’re all doing this together. I’m the beneficiary sometimes, but this is a group effort.”

Peppers got the game ball after Sunday’s victory, and also broke the team down in the locker room.

Depending on the perspective, the contract incentives he reached with his performance against Tampa Bay might make Peppers’ performance that much sweeter.

Peppers’ one-year, $3.5 million contract is structured to add an additional $250,000 for finishing the year with seven sacks. If he gets to nine, he’ll make $500,000, and if he reaches 11 he can earn $750,000 in bonus money.

Not too bad, considering that he’s on pace for 15.

Jourdan Rodrigue: 704-358-5071, @jourdanrodrigue