Peppers takes some parting shots at Carolina

March, 5, 2010
3/05/10
6:58
PM ET
Just watched the Julius Peppers press conference from Chicago. Nice move by the Bears’ public relations staff putting Brandon Manumaleuna and Chester Taylor on the side of Peppers.

They helped shield the shy guy a little bit.

[+] EnlargeJulius Peppers
AP Photo/Jim PrischingJulius Peppers wanted "a comfortable place with a deep-rooted tradition in winning."
Anyway, Peppers did talk enough to help shed some light on why he so desperately wanted out of Carolina for the last few years. He didn’t directly bash anybody, but there were some back-handed shots at the Panthers.

“Getting to a comfortable place with a deep-rooted tradition in winning is a great thing for me, a wonderful thing for me,’’ Peppers said.

Hmm? Was Peppers saying the Panthers, who began as an expansion team in 1995, don’t have deep roots or tradition?

It sure sounded that way. And, keep in mind, Peppers is a guy who was born and raised in North Carolina and went to college at the University of North Carolina.

The other shot that was pretty obvious came when Peppers was specifically asked why he wanted out of Carolina.

"Coaching was the thing I wanted to come here for,’’ Peppers said. “Coach (Lovie) Smith is a defensive-minded coach. Coach (Rod) Marinelli is regarded as one of the best defensive line coaches in the league.’’

And John Fox isn’t a defensive-minded coach?

Well, read into that what you want. Let’s move onto the next piece. That was an indirect shot at linebacker Jon Beason, cornerback Chris Gamble and the rest of the Carolina defense.

“The great players they have on the defense where I could come in and be a missing piece to help this defense return to dominance,’’ Peppers said when asked why he wanted to come to the Bears.

But the most interesting point may have come near the end when Peppers was asked about his reputation for staying out of the spotlight and if he can be the leader for the Bears.

“I understand the situation,’’ Peppers. “If that’s something that I have to do, which it seems like it will be, then I’m fine with it. It’s not something I can't do. It’s just something I chose not to.’’

Hmm, so Peppers now is willing to be a leader, a guy out in front? Why didn’t he do that in Carolina? The Panthers paid him a ton of money through the years and tried to make him comfortable. What’s the difference now?

I don’t really know. Just more to add to the mysterious legacy of Peppers in Carolina. We won't really know if there's any difference until we see if Peppers starts showing up at more press conferences ...and on the field every week.

Pat Yasinskas | email

ESPN Tampa Bay Buccaneers reporter

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