5 Carolina Panthers who retired at the perfect time

Kevin Greene
Kevin Greene /
2 of 6
Carolina Panthers
(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) Julius Peppers /

DE. CAROLINA PANTHERS. JULIUS PEPPERS. 87. Scouting Report. Pick Analysis. 1. player

Carolina Panthers Player No. 1: Julius Peppers (DE)

It’s safe to say that Julius Peppers more than lived up to his billing as the No. 2 overall pick by the Carolina Panthers in 2002. The defensive end was a relentless force throughout his career. And he will go down in history as one of the NFL’s most ferocious pass-rushers.

There was little any opposing offensive line could do to stop Peppers at the top of his game. His blend of size, power, and explosiveness was a nightmare to prevent getting in the backfield. And his supreme level of consistency is something that really sets the player apart.

More from Cat Crave

Peppers did have a spell away from the Panthers. But it seemed fitting that he would return during the final two years as a professional.

There is little doubt that the former North Carolina product walked away at the right time. And he deserves a tremendous amount of credit for sticking around during the 2018 campaign to nurture those who would eventually replace him.

His superb contribution in 2017 is arguably one of the lineman’s more underrated seasons. And his career stats are up there with the all-time greats at the position.

The pass-rushing force finished with 159.5 sacks, 11 interceptions, 82 pass deflections, 52 forced fumbles, 719 combined tackles, 552 solo tackles, 175 tackles for loss, and 186 quarterback hits to further reflect his overall dominance on the field.

Walking away from the game is never easy. But Peppers can look back knowing he retired at the right time and when he was still performing at a very high level despite his advancing years.