The 38-year-old defensive ending spent the majority of his time in the hall talking to team mates, trapping his big, recognizable grin and avoiding reporters exactly the like he did Sunday.
Carolina Panthers trainer Ron Rivera said 24 hours earlier in the day that Sunday’s 33-14 victory in New Orleans to finish a seven-game losing series was”that the best way to send” center Ryan Kalil and Peppers”off on their manner,” but he forgot something.
Peppers never declared that as Kalil had he was retiring. And he still hasn’t. According to a league source, the future Hall of Famer will take a handful of weeks to decide whether he wants to come back to pass Kevin Greene for third place to the NFL’s all time sack list. Peppers’ decision is 5050, the foundation said.
“He hasn’t left us with your final message. It’s sort of weird, because I feel like he’s going to come back,” defensive tackle Kyle Love said of Peppers, ” a new player he said has plenty left in his tank for an additional season. “He’s been grinning, type of giving little clues .”
Peppers’ future is among many uncertainties the Panthers face after having a disappointing 7-9 season after having a 6-2 start.
Outside linebacker Thomas Davis, 35, is among 19 players set to become unrestricted free agents. He would like to return for yet another season with the team who selected him in the very first round of the 2005 draft. He would like to go from their provisions as Kalil did, whether that’s at Carolina or somewhere else.
General manager Marty Hurney admittedly made any mistakes in his very first go round with the Panthers by letting the”emotional side of my brain” simply take control, waiting on hold to players he drafted perhaps more time than he needs to. And Davis are a psychological decision since he’s been the Panthers’ heart and soul for many years.
“I understand there is a complete company side of matters which needs to occur,” Davis said. “my entire mindset and what I’d like to do is totally surrounded by returning and playing here. They share the exact same sentiment.”
Hurney has reached out to safety Eric Reid of an expected fresh deal, therefore the Panthers obviously want him back. That’s not true for wide recipient Devin Funchess, who was inactive from the finale, a decision Rivera called his”dancing” because he wanted to see exactly what Mose Frazier may do.
A choice also has to be made on left handle Matt Kalil, who spent the summer on injured reserve. Additionally, it would clear $8 million in salary-cap distance for a team which now has $3 million in cap space if finished using a post-June inch designation.
Then there’s the ailing right shoulder of quarter back Cam Newton, possibly the biggest offseason uncertainty. The medical staff has been inventing a rehabilitation policy for its 2015 NFL MVP, who was shut down to its final two games.
Offensive coordinator Norv Turner said there’s a”sense of urgency” in resolving the shoulder difficulty and making sure that the Panthers have a competent backup quarterback in place.
However one match against a New Orleans team with nothing to profit, even though the Saints played nearly all of these firstteam defense in the first half, isn’t enough of a litmus test.
Rivera decided which there is a sense of urgency around Newton’s situation. He did not exclude surgery, but rest is apparently the first option.
“They’re going to keep in touch with Cam eventually, and Cam might have to get decisions ahead,” Rivera said. “Whatever is going to be decided, I’d like to see him do it right manner. I’d tend to agree with [Turner], the sooner the better.”
Newton, such as Peppers, didn’t talk to reporters Monday despite numerous efforts because he passed throughout the lockerroom. This could be a crossroads for the crime and him personally if his shoulder issue is not solved.
“He’s a enormous part of our crime, obviously,” running Christian McCaffrey said. “He’s the one which causes it to all go. You saw that in a few games early on. Even when the shoulder was hurting, look at some of the amounts we were putting up — we all do have a great deal of potential.
“I despise talking about potential since it hasn’t happened yet.”
1 question has been answered: Rivera, multiple sources told ESPN.com on Friday, will go back for a ninth season even though owner David Tepper hasn’t issued a formal announcement. Tepper might not believe that the necessity to as Rivera has just two years left in his contract.
While Rivera is still safe, maybe not most of his staff is. A decision needs to be made to whether Rivera will continue to predict defensive plays as he did the last three games or reunite that obligation to defensive coordinator Eric Washington.
Or, Rivera might bring back Steve Wilks, who had been fired one year into being the head coach at Arizona, and reunite Washington into a full-time defensive line coach position. Wilks has been the defensive coordinator at Carolina in 2017 and had a top-10 unit.
“I don’t want to speculate on some of the stuff,” Rivera said.
Rivera also did not want to speculate on the future of Peppers even though his comments on Sunday.
“Julius and that I shall talk and we’ll move from there. … that I have no idea what the anticipation is,” Rivera said. “I’ll wait until I get a chance to see him.”
Lots of Peppers’ team mates said the motivation to come back is to catch Green-e for third place on the one time sofa list and to get one last chance to secure the Super Bowl with the team that made him the No. 2 overall pick in 2002.
Peppers continued to perform into the fourth quarter Sunday while the Majority of the starters rested, requiring one sofa to reach 161.5 and pass
He missed that bag by inch yard within the third quarter when Teddy Bridgewater only got past the line of scrimmage to a scramble.
“nobody really knows exactly what Peppers is going to do,” Davis said. “People have to appreciate, Pep did not possess a complete offseason. He had been coming off knee operation. He also do and could work outside.
“If he’s ready to go and work how he needs to in the offseason, man, they can come back and do whatever he wants to accomplish. I actually don’t understand what will prevent him from returning . But I know what will motivate him to keep coming back. That bag he missed by inches.”