Snubbed by the Carolina Panthers since the end of the season, the agent for five-time Pro Bowl defensive end Julius Peppers is convinced his client will play elsewhere in 2010.
Carl Carey said Sunday night the Panthers have “not made a single inquiry this offseason” regarding the impending unrestricted free agent.
“And we don’t expect to hear from them,” Carey told The Associated Press in a phone interview, setting the stage for Peppers to become one of the top defensive players to hit the market in years ahead of a potential season without a salary cap.
Panthers general manager Marty Hurney didn’t immediately return a phone message seeking comment.
“Julius wants to thank the Carolina fans and know their support has meant a lot to him over the years,” Carey said.
Hurney and coach John Fox went to great lengths to keep Peppers in 2009, going against his public wishes to be allowed to leave as a free agent.
The Panthers used the restrictive franchise tag and paid him an NFL-high $18.2 million. That counts a $1.5 million bonus for making the Pro Bowl after he recorded 101/2 sacks.
Using the tag again next season would cost about $20.1 million, plus another $1.5 million for the Pro Bowl and $250,000 for each playoff win. Signing the 30-year-old to a long-term contract could likely cost upward of $15 million a year.
“I think most people who have looked at the situation have understood the complexity of it for the Panthers,” Carey said. “What I’m more surprised by is the silent treatment that they’re giving Julius at this time. We have had a very respectful relationship with the organization and this is very much unlike what I’m used to seeing from them.”
Freeney out for Super Bowl?
Dwight Freeney’s injured right ankle could keep the Indianapolis Colts defensive end out of the Super Bowl.
A person close to Freeney told The Associated Press in an e-mail Sunday night that Freeney’s ankle is “really bad.” The person spoke on condition of anonymity.
Earlier Sunday, ESPN.com reported that Freeney had torn a ligament, which would make it “difficult” for him to play.
Freeney led the Colts with 131/2 sacks, the sixth time in eight NFL seasons he has had a double-digit sacks total.
Ryan apologizes for gesture
Jets coach Rex Ryan apologized for making an obscene gesture at a mixed martial arts event.
Ryan was booed Saturday night while doing a TV interview at the MMA event at the Florida Panthers’ home arena in Sunrise, Fla., He was smiling when caught making the gesture by a cell phone camera.
“It was stupid and inappropriate,” Ryan said.
Quarterbacks Peyton Manning and Tom Brady joined two-time selections Willie Roaf, Larry Allen, Warren Sapp and two Seahawks among the 53 players announced as members of the NFL’s All-Decade team.
Bill Belichick and Tony Dungy were selected as the best coaches of the decade, and Dante Hall made it as both a kick and punt returner.
Former Seahawk Shaun Alexander was named one of the running backs, and teammate Walter Jones was selected as an offensive lineman.
Roaf, Allen and Sapp were also part of the 1990s team.