Roundup: Was Peppers preparing to leave Panthers?

Julius Peppers told a Charlotte, N.C., radio station Tuesday that he believes the Panthers are ignoring him, so he doesn’t want to return next season. Peppers said he didn’t feel that way last year, despite publicly stating then that he wanted to be traded.

Charlotte Observer columnist Tom Sorensen isn’t buying Pepper’s story, though, especially after the five-time Pro Bowl defensive end rejected a 2007 contract offer that would have made him the highest-paid player in NFL history.

As Sorensen surmises in his Wednesday column:

    My interpretation then was that he was putting himself in position to leave the Panthers. He still is.
    Peppers has fulfilled his contractual obligations to the Panthers, and the Panthers have fulfilled their obligations to him.
    Cars wear out. Furniture wears out. I believe the relationship between Peppers and the Panthers also has.

The Panthers could use the franchise tag on Peppers for the second consecutive season, but it would cost the team over $20 million. That might be too high a price.

Other interesting stories around the Web on a Wednesday:

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