Soon-to-be-former Carolina Panthers defensive end Julius Peppers said Saturday that it wasn’t about coaches or systems.
He just wants out.
“Basically, it’s a situation where it’s the point in my career I want to do different things,” Peppers said in a conference call with local reporters.
Peppers agent Carl Carey announced last month that his client wished to leave his home state team, and Peppers did nothing to come off that position during the 20-minute conversation. He said if the Panthers were to use the franchise tag, his first step would be to ask for a trade so he get to a system he feels can maximize his abilities.
Panthers officials said they had no comment about Peppers’ remarks.
While Carey initially indicated that Peppers wanted to play in a 3-4 defense, that’s apparently not set in stone, as Peppers said there were some 4-3 schemes that appealed to him.
Asked if he’d stay if the Panthers switched to a 3-4 system, Peppers called that “fantasy football,” since coach John Fox isn’t going to change for one guy.
“I’m just looking for a chance to do things with the abilities I have, that playing this position I’m playing now doesn’t allow me to do.”
He admitted leaving his home state, where he played in college and his entire pro career was a factor, but not the overriding one: “It’s really a career decision, not about wanting to be in an attractive city.”
He also understands there are legions of fans throughout his native land wearing his jersey, and he begged for their understanding as well.
“Put yourself in my shoes, instead of being emotional about it,” he said.