Panthers' Beason sorry for slamming Peppers

Pro Bowl linebacker Jon Beason apologized Thursday for calling out Carolina teammate Julius Peppers for his lack of production last week, even after the Panthers responded with their first win.

“After what happened, I realized I was wrong,” Beason said on radio station WFNZ. “There are certain things you shouldn’t say in public, certain things that should remain in-house. That’s where I made my mistake.”

After avoiding reporters in the locker room for nearly a week, Beason said in his paid radio appearance that he never talked to Peppers after saying on the same station last week that “I’m going to have a conversation with that guy.”

Peppers, a four-time Pro Bowl choice making an NFL-high $16.7 million salary this season, had just one sack and 10 tackles in Carolina’s 0-3 start. Beason last week said a teammate called him after Minnesota’s Jared Allen got 41/2 sacks in a Monday night game, and Beason vowed to tell Peppers that “I need everything you’ve got.”

The Panthers then beat Washington 20-17 Sunday for their first victory of the season. Peppers had two sacks and made a key play to force a safety. Beason added a team-high 10 tackles, but the defensive effort apparently wasn’t the result of any conversation.

Peppers, who rarely speaks to reporters, has declined interview requests since the incident. But Beason’s teammates said Beason shouldn’t have discussed the issue publicly.

Cullen Bryant dies at 58

Cullen Bryant, a mainstay of the Los Angeles Rams for 11 seasons and a running back on their 1980 Super Bowl team, died Tuesday in Colorado Springs, Colo., of natural causes. He was 58.

A chiseled 6-foot-1, 234 pounds, Bryant spent the 1983-84 seasons with the Seattle Seahawks, playing for coach Chuck Knox.

“When he got that big body moving it was something else,” Knox said. “He had muscles on top of muscles.”

Group to protest Vick

A Bay Area animal rights group is planning a protest against Michael Vick before his game against the Oakland Raiders on Sunday.

The group In Defense of Animals says it will protest outside Oakland Coliseum before Vick plays his first road game for the Philadelphia Eagles since being reinstated to the NFL after an 18-month prison sentence for his involvement in a dogfighting ring.

Extra points

Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford (knee injury) missed practice for the third time in four days, leaving him questionable for Sunday’s game at Green Bay. … The NFL fined Tennessee defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch $5,000 for his hit around the knees of Indianapolis quarterback Peyton Manning. … New York Jets wide receiver Jerricho Cotchery missed a second straight day of practice because of a hamstring injury and was uncertain whether he’ll be ready to play against Buffalo.