Julius Peppers 'not sure' if he'll return for 2016

Could this be it for Julius Peppers?

Turning 36 on Monday -- happy birthday, by the way -- Green Bay's veteran pass rusher acknowledged Saturday night that he was "not sure" if he'll return for his 15th NFL season in 2016.

"We'll talk about that when it's time," Peppers told reporters after the Packers lost a crushing 26-20 overtime thriller to the Cardinals in the NFC divisional round.

Peppers played well this season, piling up 10.5 sacks over 16 straight starts for a Packers defense that improved down the stretch. The takedown totals were his most since 2012, but he's also set to count $10.5 million against the cap next season.

Still, his presence on the outside allowed Green Bay to use Clay Matthews at inside linebacker, and it's clear Peppers is beloved by a locker room that voted him a playoff captain for the second straight year.

"He does all the right things," said defensive end Mike Daniels. "He truly shows you how to carry yourself on and off the field. I'm just very happy that I had an opportunity to play with him, and hopefully we can get it done for him (next season). He has everything but a Super Bowl ring."

Like plenty of veterans after a long season, Peppers needs time to think and get his body right. If both sides still feel the money is right, we'd expect him to return for one more shot at the Lombardi.

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