Charles Johnson wants to bring Julius Peppers back to Carolina

Getty Images

The Panthers are all about keeping the band together on the defensive line this offseason, having franchise-tagged Kawann Short, and re-signed Charles Johnson, Mario Addison and Wes Horton already.

But Johnson wants them to go even deeper into the vault, and bring back his old mentor.

After signing a two-year deal to come back yesterday, Johnson said he was lobbying General Manager Dave Gettleman to bring unrestricted free agent Julius Peppers back to Charlotte.

“I’m super pumped,” Johnson said of the mass return, via Bill Voth of Black and Blue Review. That’s all my guys. Like I tell Gettleman and I tell (assistant general manager) Brandon Beane, just keep stacking the D-Line, keeping bringing in people for the D-line. I’ll even root for them to bring Pep back. If they can bring Julius back, I’m all for it.”

Johnson said he planned to make a call to Peppers, who wants to continue playing after his three-year stint in Green Bay. Peppers was the second overall pick of the Panthers in 2002 and is the team’s all-time sack leader with 81.0 (Johnson is second with 67.5).

“It’s just a personal opinion as a friend of his — I just want to see him retire as a Panther,” Johnson said. “I just think him coming back for a year and retiring as a Panther, what better career for him to have than to retire at his home?”

Peppers considered a homecoming in 2014, and Gettleman said last week he thought he was close to making it happen, before Green Bay swooped in at the end with a better offer.

But for both sides, the time might be right for a reunion this time.