Peppers Speaks

When did you know for sure that you would be a Panther?

Peppers: Early this morning. I was pretty confident coming in, but there was still some uncertainty. I wasn't sure.

How much did you want to be drafted by the Panthers?

Peppers: If I could do the draft all over again, this is how I would do it. This is how I would want it to happen. If I had my choice, this is where I would choose to be.

You have said you prefer playing for a rebuilding team. Why?

Peppers: It's a bigger challenge. I look forward to the challenge of helping a team rebuild, and contribute and be a part of something special. Last year at North Carolina, we lost our first three games, but played much better towards the end of the season. It was a challenge to get that turned around. I'm looking forward to the same thing here.

What do you bring to the table besides youth?

Peppers: Athleticism. A little bit of versatility, dropping back in coverage or whatever. I think I bring the whole package and I can only get better.

What did (North Carolina head coach, and former NFL assistant) John Bunting tell you about the NFL game?

Peppers: He showed me a little bit. It was more watching film of some of the players he coached. .

Do you feel any extra pressure, being such a high pick for a team that struggled last season?

Peppers: It's a little bit of pressure, but that's something I'm looking forward to. I wouldn't have it any other way. I'm looking forward to it.

What do you say to the folks who say the knock against you is that you take some plays off?

Peppers: I hear that all the time. I don't think I take plays off. I think I get tired. You can get slower at the end of games because the body gets tired. But that's the only thing. If I don't have the stats in one game that I had in the previous game, it doesn't mean that I have taken plays off.

Why did you choose football over basketball?

Peppers: I didn't want to play basketball. It wasn't something that I wanted to do.

How important is it for you to be signed before training camp starts?

Peppers: I'm going to be here. We're going to do whatever it takes for me to be here on time. I want to be prepared to be on the field.

You played mostly on the right side in college. There has been talk of you playing on the left side. Do you have a preference?

Peppers: It doesn't matter to me. I can play on either side. I got more comfortable this year on the right side, but all it will take is a couple of snaps from the left side to feel comfortable there.

Coach, can you talk about the process of picking Julius? You look like a proud papa, almost.

Fox: There's no question that we're very excited to have Julius. We spent a lot of time with him, talking to him, and talking to his coaches and friends. We're very proud and fortunate to have him here. For all those people who doubted him, time will tell, but we're pretty confident that all of those questions will be answered in the near future.

What sort of hobbies do you have?

Peppers: I really don't do a lot except stay at home and watch TV.

What does it mean to have a coach who was a former defensive coordinator and has such a good track record with defensive ends?

Peppers: I think it's going to give me an advantage. Coach Bunting was a defensive coach. I think that only helps me, so I'm looking forward to it.

How much do you think you missed by playing basketball for a couple of years and not playing spring football?

Peppers: I missed out on a little bit. That can be made up, though. Now all I'm doing is football. Basketball won't be taking up my time any more, so I think I'll catch up quickly.

Who are your heroes in or out of football?

Peppers: My mother. My old high school coach.


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