Julius Peppers: Final play with Bears cost me my job

Julius Peppers was unable to go out a winner in Chicago. In fact, the last play of his time with the Bears was perhaps the most gut-wrenching of his career.

We refer, of course, to Aaron Rodgers' dramatic 48-yard touchdown strike to Randall Cobb that stunned sold-out Soldier Field and lifted the Green Bay Packers to another division title at their rival's expense.

Rodgers' pass came on a fourth-and-8 play. Peppers screamed toward the quarterback but was chipped by fullback John Kuhn. The block gave Rodgers enough time to end Chicago's season -- and indirectly -- Peppers' time with the Bears.

"I was pretty close. I was pretty close," Peppers said this week, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "We joked about it. He actually cost me my job. He got me released. I guess it turned out pretty good."

Watching the play again, Peppers isn't kidding. If Kuhn doesn't take Peppers out, the defensive end probably takes down Rodgers for a division-clinching sack. Instead, heartbreak. Peppers said that one play changed the trajectory of his career.

"For sure. For sure," Peppers said. "If that play had, if I would've made the play, I probably wouldn't be here now. It's kind of like one of those things like, at the time it was the worst thing that could've happened. But now it's like the best thing that could've happened."

Peppers returns to Soldier Field on Sunday hoping for better results on the field -- even if that loss now feels like a positive thing in hindsight.

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