• Panthers' Julius Peppers named NFL Man of the Year finalist


    Defensive end Julius Peppers has been selected as the Carolina Panthers nominee for the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year award.

    Peppers is one of 32 players, one from each NFL team, eligible to be selected for the only NFL award that recognizes a player for his community service activities as well as his excellence on the field.

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    The winner will be announced during the NFL Honors awards special on Feb. 2, the eve of Super Bowl LIII.

    This fall, when Hurricane Florence hit the coast of North and South Carolina, Peppers donated $100,000 to start the Julius Peppers Hurricane Relief Fund through the Foundation for the Carolinas, and encouraged teammates and fans to pledge their support.

    In addition to his donation, Peppers has visited hurricane-ravaged areas in Robeson County in North Carolina and Marlboro County in South Carolina. The Bailey, North Carolina, native did more than just visit for a photo opportunity; he put on a mask and helped tear down damaged walls, moved furniture and served food for those spending each day trying to pick up the pieces.

    Along with his work helping hurricane victims, Peppers used the November mid-term election to use his voice and platform to encourage and facilitate voter registration.

    Peppers has donated more than $300,000 to the University of North Carolina’s Light on the Hill Society Scholarship fund that supports African-American students.

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    On the field, Peppers has been a prolific defensive end. The nine-time Pro Bowler has played in 172 consecutive games, which is the second-longest active streak in the NFL among position players. He’s also the oldest active defensive player in the NFL and his 262 career games played ranks sixth among all defenders in NFL history.

    Peppers currently ranks fourth in NFL history with 158.5 career sacks. He has the most sacks of any active NFL player, and is the only player in history with at least 150 sacks and 10 interceptions.

    A total of $500,000 will be donated in the name of the 2018 Man of the Year recipient, with $250,000 going to Character Playbook, which is the NFL and United Way's digital character education program. An additional donation of $250,000 will be made to the charity of his choice.

    All other 31 nominees will receive a donation of $50,000 in their name to expand Character Playbook, and an additional donation of up to $50,000 to their charity of choice.

    New this year, all 32 team winners will be highlighted as finalists and recognized for their important work during the weekend leading up to Super Bowl LIII.

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