Headed into the 2010 season, Julius Peppers is the crown jewel of the Bears' free-agent haul. With a six-year deal that could earn the defensive end more than $90 million, he has high expectations. But how much do you know about Peppers?
1. Peppers made an appearance in Nelly's video for the song "Hot in Herre." He's wearing a yellow shirt, and despite what the song's refrain suggests, he does not take off all his clothes.
2. He was a walk-on for the University of North Carolina's basketball team, and played in the Final Four. He and Donovan McNabb are the only people to play in both the Final Four and the Super Bowl. (McNabb walked onto Syracuse hoops after starring in football and basketball at Mt. Carmel High School, then played for the Eagles in the Super Bowl.) Both men came up short, though, in winning a ring for either the Super Bowl or the NCAA championship.
3. He has reached double-digits in sacks in six out of the eight seasons that he has played in the NFL, 81 total on his career.
4. When he makes his pre-season debut with the Bears on August 14, it will mark the first time he's played for a non-North Carolina team ever (not counting the Pro Bowl). He went to high school and college in NC, then was drafted by his home state football team.
5. At 6-7, he is an inch taller than another famous Chicago athlete who was raised in North Carolina.
6. A notoriously quiet player, Peppers has no interest in drawing extra attention to himself. He's been criticized for not playing hard, but coaches have recognized that he can make difficult feats look effortless. In an interview with ESPN, he said, "Certain players have a certain haircut, they have certain sack celebrations. They draw a lot of attention to themselves. That stuff can make it seem like you’re playing hard when really, you’re playing [about the same] as everybody else.”
7. He recently donated $100,000 to his alma mater to give scholarships to African-American students at UNC.