Leading Blog






02.03.19

Super Bowl Edition: Julius Peppers Retires from the NFL

Weekend Supplement

Dignity and class.

On and off the field, Julius Peppers was a leader.

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady said, “Julius has had an incredible impact in the NFL from the day that he came in. What an amazing player over the course of a long period of time. Just incredible physical, mental toughness. What an incredible career.”

New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski recalls, “I remember my first time lining up versus him, and I looked up and I was like 'This dude's a freak! His arms are like five times bigger than mine! He's a great player, and it was just an honor to be able to compete versus him.”

Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald remembers, “He's one of the best to ever do it. Made a lot of plays. I remember as a kid watching him play. Just a whole lot of respect for him. I remember being at a Pro Bowl, got an opportunity to talk to him and try to, like, feed off of him, ask him questions. One heck of a football player.”

His accomplishments on the field are impressive but off the field, he demonstrated leadership, community, and empathy.

In February 2009, Peppers donated $500,000 to a scholarship program that supports black students at his alma mater the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

After Hurricane Florence, the North Carolina native started the Julius Peppers Hurricane Florence relief fund by donating $100,000 and encouraged his teammates and other NFL players to join in. Actively involved in the recovery efforts, he told the Charlotte Observer, “I think a big part of the solution to these problems, and a big part of the help is the volunteers. People actually getting out there on the ground, putting in the work, going around helping other people and showing compassion for your neighbors. That really left an impression on me. ...People need to know that we’re all a big community and we all need help from time to time.”

Julius Peppers announced his retirement Friday, February 1 after seventeen years in the NFL. He left us this video:



“Thank you.
For the victories and the good times.
For the lessons and the times we desired more.
For the sacrifices, the belief, the confidence, and the unwavering support, I’m thankful.
Because without you, this wasn’t possible.
Thank you for the spirit, the resolve, and the attitude to Keep Pounding. It’s not something we just say around here, it’s how we live.
I’m thankful for the things you showed me about life that were bigger than football.
And for a second chance, a new beginning.
See the players, we come, and we go, but the constant is you and as the saying goes ‘once a panther, always a panther.’
Thank you for the memories, friendships, the laughs and the culture we created.
For the understanding and for being family.
Thanks for all the years, and cheers.
And for being home now and forever.
I wouldn’t change a thing about this journey. It was the best teacher I’ve ever had and was everything I could’ve hoped for.
The tough times never lasted, and the tough people inspired me to be better and give more.
I hope I did the same.
Only time can reveal what’s next, but my time here is up. No regrets, no looking back and nothing left to give.
It’s not goodbye; it’s kinda like I’ll see ya later.
But until then I’m grateful, I’m satisfied and at peace with all that comes next.
Thank you.”

And thank you, Julius, for showing us the mind of a leader.


leadership blog

Posted by Michael McKinney at 09:02 AM
| Comments (0) | Leaders , Weekend Supplement



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