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Panthers’ Julius Peppers refuses to comment about his NFL future

The end may or may not be near for Carolina Panthers defensive end Julius Peppers. The 38-year old defender told David Newton of ESPN, “We’ll talk about that later,” when asked if this would be his last season.

Peppers’ teammate, cornerback Captain Munnerlyn, isn’t sure that Peppers would want to go out on a bad note like this year. The Panthers fell to 6-9 after a 24-10 loss to the Atlanta Falcons, next week they’ll be at the Superdome playing the New Orleans Saints. Munnerlyn believes that Peppers could play another five years if he wanted to, “He’s a freak of nature,” he said.

Next year would be Peppers’ 18th season, over his long career, he’s been named to nine Pro Bowls and was voted First Team All-Pro three times. Peppers was drafted by the Panthers in 2002, and spent eight years in Carolina before spending the next seven years in the NFC North. He played the Chicago Bears for four years before spending three years with the Green Bay Packers. Peppers returned to Carolina last season.

This year Peppers’ playing time has decreased this year, but has still tallied four sacks on the season. Last year he had 11 sacks at 37-years-old, just 3.5 fewer than his career high of 14.5 which he had with the Panthers in 2008.

Carolina has all but thrown in the towel on this season, benching quarterback Cam Newton due to a shoulder injury. Newton’s arm strength notably decreased over the course of the season, today they started Taylor Heinicke who completed 33 passes of 53 attempts for 274 yards, one touchdown, and three interceptions.