Carolina Panthers defensive end Julius Peppers announced his retirement from the NFL Friday morning after 17 seasons.
Peppers is fourth in NFL history in sacks with 159.5 and made 97 of them while playing for the Panthers.
“In getting to know Julius over these past months, I’ve learned that he is a man of few words. When he speaks, everyone listens,” Panthers owner David Tepper said in a written statement.
“With that in mind, I will be brief. He’s one of the best to ever wear a Carolina uniform. He carries himself with dignity, integrity and class, and will always be a Panther.”
Carolina drafted Peppers with the second overall pick of the NFL Draft in 2002 after his standout career in football and basketball at the University of North Carolina.
He was named to the Pro Bowl nine times during his career. He also played for the Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers before returning to Carolina for the 2017 season.
In the just completed 2018 season, Peppers had five sacks and six tackles for loss.
Peppers is the Panthers’ nominee for the 2018 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year. That will be awarded Saturday night.