Julius Peppers has career-long endurance few other players can match. Entering his 13th season, he has played 10 complete seasons, and he’s coming off six in a row. His stats have tapered a bit. Some might say it’s because of his age, but the 34-year-old doesn’t think about his age.
“There’s not a lot of 34-year-old defensive ends playing in the league,” Peppers said recently. “So I guess it’s a fair question. But I don’t really put too much into it.”
Peppers will move out of the trenches this year — only nominally though. He’s moving from a 4-3 defensive end to a 3-4 outside linebacker. He’ll have the luxury of getting his hand out of the dirt, but he’ll have the same job that he’s built for. He’s going to rush the passer.
“Just look at him and you see physically with his height, his long arms, his athletic ability, you can see the basketball in his background,” defensive coordinator Dom Capers said. “He’s a really smart guy. He’s picked things up mentally really better than I anticipated he would.”
Despite the perfect body type, Peppers had two of his lowest three sack totals in his career during his four-year stint in Chicago. Like most veterans, he’s more concerned with finding a rhythm for the Packers than he is for himself. He’s going to partner up with Clay Matthews and disrupt the quarterback, no matter what the stats show.
“It’s not really about maximizing my individual statistics or anything like that,” Peppers said. “It’s about maximizing my abilities to try and fit into this defense and try to help this defense be more productive. It’s about me coming here, trying to come here and help this defense and help this team win.”