Urlacher promotes Peppers for top award

December, 23, 2010
12/23/10
12:40
PM ET
Julius PeppersBrace Hemmelgarn/US PresswireJulius Peppers may not have huge sack numbers, but that doesn't define his contributions.
LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Statistics don't tell the whole story when it comes to Chicago Bears defensive end Julius Peppers, according to teammate Brian Urlacher.

"He's unbelievable, in my mind he's defensive player of the year," Urlacher said.

It may be tough for Peppers to claim that award, since he's tied with five other players -- including fellow end Israel Idonije -- for 21st in the NFL with eight sacks.

But numbers aside, Urlacher points to Peppers as being the main reason behind the Bears' defensive resurgence in 2010.

"There's no one player in the NFL that affects a game on defense more than he does," Urlacher said. "You look at what he does, the schemes people have to do for him, he pretty much eliminates one side of the field. You have to double him, and if you don't double him, it's a sack. It makes our job easy. The running game, I don't know how many tackles for a loss he has, but he's always in the backfield. He sets up our whole defense.

"He's been everything we thought he was going to be and more. He practices hard, he plays hard. I have a lot of respect for the guy. He does a great job for us."

Peppers lead the team in quarterback pressures (20), is tops among all Bears' defensive linemen in tackles (48), and is the first lineman to record multiple interceptions (2) in a single season since Alex Brown in 2006.

"He's [phenomenal against] the run," Urlacher said. "He's a big guy, 295 pounds, and people always talk about how many sacks he has, but he plays the run really well. The guy is in the backfield all the time, in his gap, he's distributive. He just does his job and does it well."

Jeff Dickerson | email

Chicago Bears beat reporter
Dickerson has been the Bears beat reporter for ESPN Chicago since 2004. He also hosts weeknight radio shows on ESPN 1000.

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