Panthers news: Luke Kuechly, Julius Peppers, apologies and analytics

Exploring the latest Carolina Panthers news and rumors from around the media.

Luke Kuechly
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Julius Peppers' adulation

Julius Peppers becoming a first-ballot Pro Football Hall of Famer was deserved recognition for an exceptional career. The expectations couldn't have been much higher coming out of college for the two-sport star after the Carolina Panthers selected him No. 2 overall. What followed was one of the most dominant careers for a defensive end in NFL history.

Peppers has been soaking in the moment after the NFL Honors evening. There's a humble, almost disbelieving, manner about the formidable pass-rusher following his secured spot among the football immortals. Spending time with those who've also booked their place in Canton made everything seem real.

Former offensive tackle Willie Roaf - who clashed with Peppers throughout the tail-end of his glittering career - said it didn't take long to realize there was something different about the Panthers' edge presence based on comments via the team's website. He added that choosing football over basketball was the right call.

"You could tell he was a football player. He was just different. He's been different from the time he came out, you know what I'm saying? Just a different breed. No question about it."

Willie Roaf via

There will be much more adulation coming Peppers' way in the days, weeks, and months ahead. His enshrinement ceremony to officially begin the 2024 preseason will be an emotional affair. For the Panthers, it could be the start of further inductions with Steve Smith Sr. and Luke Kuechly on deck.