Peppers wants to sign elsewhere

Most local fans will remember the day the Charlotte Hornets traded center Alonzo Mourning to the Miami heat as the day the franchise started its decent in the Queen City. Today might be a similar day for the Carolina Panthers.

In a statement from his agent, Julius Peppers has finally let the public know about his intentions to leave the Carolina Panthers.

"The front office has been informed of my desire to explore opportunities with other NFL teams following the expiration of my contract next month," Peppers said through his agent, Carl Carey. "At this point in my career, I am seeking new challenges that will allow me to grow, develop and reach my personal potential on the football field. I strongly feel that making a move at this time is in my best interest. I appreciate the entire Panthers organization and am thankful for the seven seasons I've spent with the team."

"Julius is firm in his decision that he needs a change," Carey said. "He feels that he can thrive in another system. While he has been selected to four Pro Bowls and designated as an All-Pro during his career, he feels that he has yet to develop to his full potential. This is the case of a great player who seeks to become an elite one."

So, in other words, Peppers doesn't like his coaching staff. That's funny, because most fans don't like the system the Panthers employ, either. Ask any handful of Panther fans what they don't like about the team and they'll tell you that they don't like the cushion the conerbacks give, the lack of pressure the defensive line creates and that they drop Peppers back in coverage too often.

And was it true that the last All-Pro that was traded, Kris Jenkins, just didn't like being in Charlotte, or was his reasons for leaving really the same as Peppers' and he didn't want to make himself look like a malcontent with authority?

Clearly it's not about the money. The Panthers offered Peppers the richest-ever contract for a defensive player last summer. Peppers declined it, but didn't make a stink about it during the season.

The question is, how will fans react to Peppers leaving the Panthers? He's one of the most popular players in franchise history, and one of the current faces of the franchise. Peppers is that local boy that grows up, goes to college locally and then gets to play for his hometown professional team. That doesn't happen very often. Fans in the Carolinas have been following Peppers for well over a decade. It's not so easy just to say "see you later".

Will the fans turn on the Panthers for trading one of their cornerstones in his prime? We'll find out soon enough.

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