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Mike McCarthy: Veteran Julius Peppers is 'ageless'


Packers head coach Mike McCarthy is well aware that outside linebacker Julius Peppers is 36 years old, but it just doesn't seem that way.

"Julius Peppers is ageless," McCarthy told this week.

Peppers knows that doesn't come by accident, though. Amid a story detailing his lengthy career, he shared a few secrets to his success. Among them, taking little time off in the offseason and working out through the NFL's dark period. That, and running.

"I've been doing that since college," Peppers said. "I like to run. That's my thing. I like to run in the offseason. So I have a chance to get with those little guys and try to push myself and use one of those guys as a rabbit. I try to jump in there with them and see if I can keep up."

"Those guys" are defensive backs. Peppers prefers a challenge.

As NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport noted on Friday, Peppers will be among the players interviewed by the NFL during the first day of training camps for being mentioned in an Al Jazeera documentary about doping in sports. Teammate Clay Matthews was also named in the documentary -- the documentary's only source, a former intern at the Guyer Institute named Charlie Sly has since taken back everything -- for use of painkillers and Toradol. Peppers was linked to the performance-enhancing supplement D2.

Both Peppers and Matthews have denied all allegations. Peppers credits the regiments for his agelessness. He added that his mandated sleep time and fish-heavy diet are also key reasons for his longevity.

Peppers became just the ninth player to log 10 or more sacks in a season at age 35 (10.5) last year. His film is, at times, more enjoyable to watch because of the grace and fluidity that comes with nearly two decades in the NFL. Though pass rushers may lose a step or two over the years, the best ones like Peppers gain this slow-motion highlight quality to their work, schooling left tackles with preparation and a few perfect hand movements.

The number of double-digit sack seasons post 35 is a pretty exclusive club if Peppers can do it again. Only Kevin Greene, Bruce Smith, Reggie White and Chris Doleman have accomplished the feat and in many ways we already consider Peppers in their rarefied air.


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