Julius Peppers on Seattle: ‘We’re looking forward, nobody’s looking back’
By Tyler Dunne of the Journal Sentinel
~Green Bay — A year ago, Julius Peppers was the new guy in town tackling age and expectations in Green Bay.
He was a 6-foot-7, 287-pound unknown at 34 years old, a player let go by a division rival. And in his first season with the Packers, Peppers delivered as a timely playmaker. In addition to his team-high 43 1/2 pressures, Peppers had a team-high 11 turnovers.
Of course, the reason he signed with the Packers was to win the Super Bowl. And he fell short of that goal at CenturyLink Field in the NFC Championship Game. Peppers is no stranger to agonizing defeats, having lost to the Packers in the 2010 NFC title game and to the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl while he was in Carolina.
Now, he’ll need to do it again. At 35 years old.
“We’re looking forward,” Peppers said. “Nobody’s looking back. We’re already past that. It’s a new season. We have new opportunities this year, and we’re looking forward to this season.”
For Peppers, a player with 125.5 career sacks and 57 turnovers, hoisting the Lombardi Trophy is the obvious last goal to achieve.
“Win. Win,” he said. “That’s it. There’s nothing else to do but to win.
“I think I can speak for everybody in here — it’s all about winning. That’s all we want to do.”
If Clay Matthews is playing inside linebacker many snaps again, the Packers will be counting on Peppers’ pass rush even more. He proved in 2014 he can still disrupt a passing game in the twillight of his career. His size and athleticism still overwhelmed offensive tackles at times. Now, he’ll need to do it again.
“There’s always something to improve upon,” Peppers said. “So it’s about finding those things. For me, it’s just about getting back out there and getting a feel for playing the game again, trying to shake some of the rust off. … It’s a lot more comfortable, a lot, in all ways – playbook, relationship with my teammates and just familiarity with everybody around here, so it’s a lot more comfortable this time around.”
Peppers noted the Packers have tweaked a few things on defense.
One thing will remain the same: young players will be looking up to Peppers as a leader. He knew when to speak up a year ago — including an inspiring pregame speech before a blowout win over the Bears — and will be taking on that role again.
This time, he hopes, with a different ending.
“It’s just doing things the right way,” Peppers said, “doing things how you’re supposed to be and setting the right example for not only the young guys but everybody and just trying to do things the right away.”
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