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Julius Peppers retires from the NFL

All-time great, Julius Peppers, retires from the NFL. Next stop the Pro Football Hall Of Fame.

Chicago Bears Training Camp Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Earlier today, 39-year old Julius Peppers, who played 17 years in the NFL, announced his retirement.

Peppers was the second overall pick in the 2002 NFL Draft by the Carolina Panthers, and he played there until 2009 before leaving to sign with the Chicago Bears and head coach Lovie Smith. Coach Smith famously met with Peppers at midnight when free agency opened to entice him to come to Chicago.

Peppers played just four years in Chicago and his 37.5 sacks rank him 9th all time in franchise history in that category. While with the Bears from 2010-2013 he also had 3 interceptions, 18 passes defended, 10 forced fumbles (tied for 8th in Bears’ history), and 7 fumble recoveries with one going for a touchdown. He made 3 Pro Bowls and an All Pro team while never missing a game in his time as a Bear. Chicago also never had a losing season with Peppers lining up at defensive end.

After leaving the Bears he played three seasons with the Green Bay Packers as a defensive end/outside linebacker before playing the last two years back in Carolina.

Overall, Peppers made 9 Pro Bowl teams, and was thrice named All Pro. His 159.5 sacks rank fourth all time in the history of the league behind Kevin Greene (160), Reggie White (198), and Bruce Smith (200). He ended his career playing 266 games, grabbing 11 interceptions with 4 TDs, 82 passes defended, 52 forced fumbles, 21 fumble recoveries with 2 for TDs, and 724 total tackles.

He was a dominant defender at times during his career and will likely be a first ballot Hall Of Famer.