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Julius Peppers: Not sacking Aaron Rodgers changed my career

Julius PeppersJulius Peppers believes that the outcome of one play last season led to him changing teams over the offseason.

Peppers’ Chicago Bears were 8-7 entering a Week 17 contest against the 7-7-1 Green Bay Packers last season. The winner of that game would be the winner of the NFC North and represent the division in the NFL playoffs.

The Bears were up 28-27 with under a minute left and had the Packers in a 4th-and-8 situation from the 48. You know the rest — Rodgers avoids the rush, scrambles to his left and throws one deep downfield to Randall Cobb for a game-winning touchdown. Packers win the game, go to the playoffs, and Bears make offseason changes including releasing Peppers.

Now Peppers is a teammate of Rodgers and joked that the play changed his future.

“I was pretty close. I was pretty close (to getting the sack),” Peppers said Thursday via the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “We joked about it. He actually cost me my job. He got me released. I guess it turned out pretty good.

“If I would’ve made the play, I probably wouldn’t be here now. It’s kind of like one of those things, at the time it was the worst thing that could’ve happened. But now it’s like the best thing that could’ve happened.”

Saying that not making the play is the best thing that could have happened implies Peppers is extremely happy with the Packers even though they’re 1-2 and trailing the Bears in the division. Though, if Green Bay wins this weekend, they’ll be in good shape in the NFC North. Things generally do work out as they’re supposed to.

Helmet smack to Pro Football Talk

Julius Peppers’ girlfriend appears to be Claudia Sampedro

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Julius Peppers has had an exciting offseason. He was released by the Chicago Bears last month and quickly signed with the division rival Green Bay Packers. His new contract is reportedly worth $30 million, so he is still going to make plenty of money. He also got to go on vacation with the lovely Claudia Sampedro.

Sampedro, a model, shared a photo on Instagram Monday of her getting cozy with Peppers. The Big Lead notes that Sampedro also dated Reggie Bush a few years back. As you know, Bush now plays for the Detroit Lions. Between Peppers going from Chicago to Green Bay and now dating Bush’s ex, we have plenty of story lines to follow in the NFC North.

CLAUDIA SAMPEDRO PICTURES

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H/T The Big Lead
Photos: Instagram/Claudia Sampedro

Julius Peppers signs with Packers

Julius PeppersJulius Peppers has agreed to a three-year contract with the Green Bay Packers. The deal, which was first reported by ESPN’s Josina Anderson, is reportedly worth a maximum of $30 million. Peppers will make $8.5 million next season.

Peppers, who was released by the Chicago Bears last week, declined a bit last season with just seven sacks. Still, he remains one of the better pass rushers in the league at age 34. Playing alongside Clay Matthews will also help, as defenses won’t be able to focus solely on Peppers when it comes to stopping the pass rush.

Green Bay also re-signed BJ Raji to a one-year contract on Thursday after he was unable to drum up any significant interest on the free agent market. The Packers have ultimately kept their defense intact, so the addition of Peppers should help.

At age 34, Peppers can still be a valuable piece of the puzzle without putting up the same sack numbers he did earlier in his career. That said, I’m not convinced he’s worth the type of money the Packers gave him.

Bears reportedly looking to trade Julius Peppers

Julius PeppersJulius Peppers signed a big free agent contract with the Chicago Bears in 2010, and now he is due to make some big money. Because of the large salary he is owed this season, the Bears are trying to get rid of him.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported on Monday that the Bears are calling around looking for a trade partner for Peppers, who is set to earn $13.9 million this season. His cap number is said to be over $18 million, which is all the more reason the Bears will try to trade him.

If the Bears are unable to find a trade partner, they will probably cut him.

Peppers had 46 tackles, 7.5 sacks and 2 forced fumbles last season.

In addition to Peppers, the Bears are releasing running back Michael Bush, which will save them nearly $3 million.

Julius Peppers Reportedly Rented Plane to Transport Bears to Funeral for Urlacher’s Mother

No matter how many negative stories were hear about, there are always some good ones that shine through to make one feel better about humanity. This is one of those stories.

Brian Urlacher’s mother, Lavoyda Lenard, died unexpectedly on Monday. The Bears linebacker missed several days of practice this week and returned to New Mexico for Saturday’s funeral. According to the Chicago Sun-Times, the majority of his defensive teammates will also be in attendance.

The Sun-Times adds that Julius Peppers rented a private plane to transport his teammates to New Mexico for the funeral, and then New Orleans for Sunday’s game against the Saints. Though the report is unclear, I’m taking “Peppers rented a private plane” to mean he not only made arrangements for it, but that he also paid for it.

Regardless of who paid for it, it’s awesome that the Bears are going out of their way to ensure they’re there to support their teammate. And as someone who was signed to a huge free agent deal last year, Peppers is putting his money to good use if he in fact paid for the plane.

This reminds me of what the Indians did last month to ensure Jack Hannahan did not miss the birth of his child. Some athletes may come across as cold and callous, but we’ve learned that teammates support each other more often than not.

Thanks to Da Bear Necessities for the story link