A few stray thoughts on the 25-minute Julius Peppers interview on WFNZ. By the way, they're replaying it at 9 a.m. (610 AM and wfnz.com), and it's worth a listen.
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-- First off, it was a good get for host Chris McClain. Peppers has always been a better interview on the phone than in person, for whatever reason, and that one went on much longer than I expected.
-- Peppers claimed he refused the 2008 contract offer which would have made him the league's highest paid defensive player (HPDP), in part because he felt like he didn't deserve it.
But at another point, he referenced that deal by saying it only got him to that status "slightly. Very slightly."
It seems a tad disingenuous to refuse the deal because your honor won't allow it, then to quibble about the degree to which it makes you richest.
-- It's becoming more and more clear that Peppers isn't going to be here next year.
It's just a matter of how he departs.
Peppers leaving freely is very much an option, but the prudent play in my opinion is tagging him with designs on trading him. There are people who are willing to pay for him, and they'd likely be willing to give something for him.
And no matter what happens, GM Marty Hurney and coach John Fox are going to take a public relations beating for this one. But it's important to remember that this decision goes up the food chain, and ultimately is being made by the guy with his name on the letterhead.
Hurney especially is willing to dive on grenades for his boss, but let's keep in mind this decision will be made by Jerry Richardson and executed by others.
-- In other defensive line news, the Panthers had former Colts DT Ed Johnson
in for a visit last week.
Makes sense, if Ron Meeks can tap into the productive player he had in 2007, and avoid the headaches Johnson created the following two seasons.
No word on whether the Panthers are interested in signing him, but it's interesting that they're looking at him.