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Panthers star Julius Peppers retiring after 17 seasons


Carolina’s Julius Peppers has announced his retirement after 17 NFL seasons, nine Pro Bowl appearances and six All-Pro selections.

Peppers spent the first eight seasons of his career with the Panthers, then played four with Chicago, three with Green Bay and his final two seasons back with Carolina. He missed four games in 2002, his rookie season, then played in 254 out of a possible 256 games over the rest of his career.

Peppers finished his career with 159½ sacks, fourth-most in NFL history. The defensive end is the only player in league history with at least 150 sacks and 10 interceptions — he had 11 of those — and also blocked 13 field goals and extra-point attempts.

Peppers announced his retirement in an essay published Friday by The Players Tribune. He says he still feels good, but knows football could not last forever.

“The Super Bowl ring eluded me, but I don’t need that to validate me,” Peppers wrote. “I would have loved to have helped deliver that to the fans in Carolina, but I’m content with the career that I had.”

Peppers had 97 of his sacks in a Carolina uniform, setting the franchise record there.

“Julius is one of the greatest to ever play the game of football,” Panthers coach Ron Rivera said. “To put up the numbers he did for as long as he did speaks to his incredible talent and commitment.”