GREEN BAY, WI (LEARFIELD-WSAU) Julius Peppers says he feels just fine, despite a sub-par season last year. The Green Bay Packers' new pass rusher was a big hit yesterday, when the Pack held its first O-T-A practice.
The 34-year-old Peppers is an eight-time Pro Bowler who was cut by Chicago for salary cap purposes. The Packers snapped him up less than a day after that. They signed him to a three-year deal in the wake of his lowest 2013 sack total since 2007, when he had a career-low two-and-a-half sacks with Carolina.
Peppers said he felt fine last season -- and while circumstances surrounding the Bears affected him, he said his body feels great now. He's being groomed as an outside linebacker opposite Clay Matthews. Peppers, a long-time defensive end, said it's not much of a change -- except for dropping back a little.
Inside linebacker A-J Hawk says he doesn't see anything to indicate that Peppers has lost a step. After seeing Peppers fly around the field yesterday, Hawk said the veteran "runs like he's 18." Since Peppers' rookie year of 2002, he's second in the N-F-L with 118-and-a-half career sacks.
Propping up the defense is a top priority for Packers' coach Mike McCarthy. That was after the defense sagged late last season, while quarterback Aaron Rodgers was out with a shoulder injury.