New contract for Peppers?

Don't be surprised if contract negotiations with defensive end Julius Peppers begin to heat up soon.

There is some speculation the Panthers have been waiting to see if Peppers bounces back from an awful season in 2007 before giving him a contract that might make him the highest-paid defensive player in the league.

Well, if Saturday night is any indication, Peppers is back.

Sure it's the preseason, but Peppers looked dominant in his first game at right defensive end, blowing past Colts left tackle Tony Ugoh on the third play of the game and dislodging the ball from quarterback Jim Sorgi. Teammate Charles Johnson recovered it, giving Carolina the ball at the Colts 19 and setting up DeAngelo Williams' touchdown run.

After a rough season in 2007, there is plenty of excitement surrounding Peppers this year.

Earlier in training camp, teammate Jordan Gross said of Peppers: "I think he's going to have his best year ever. He's better than I've ever seen him. Barring anything unknown, there's no reason he won't go out and set records."

It's early, but Peppers had that look about him Saturday night.

Aside from the sack, he also had two other quarterback pressures and was a disruptive force.

Peppers, who becomes an unrestricted free agent after the season, has plenty of reason to be motivated.

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