CHARLOTTE -- After four months, the contract status of defensive end Julius Peppers came to a resolution Wednesday when he signed his one-year franchise-player tender, securing his return to the Panthers for an eighth season.
The signing ended a process that kept the four-time Pro Bowl defensive end out of action during minicamp and organized team activities. Throughout that work, the Panthers maintained the expectation that Peppers would be with the team when training camp commenced.
"It's not a lot different than what we've been saying," general manager Marty Hurney said. "We've had very good communication with (Peppers' agent) Carl Carey throughout the process.
"It's really a culimination of what has transpired over the past few months. Every conversation has been positive. All indications were that he was going to sign and be in for training camp."
In his seven seasons as a Panther, the No. 2 overall selection in 2002 has amassed 70.5 sacks and 24 forced fumbles, including 14.5 and five, respectively, during a 2008 season that ended with his fourth career Pro Bowl appearance.
Peppers was also one of the Panthers' two defensive captains last year alongside fellow Pro Bowler
"We always say that you go by actions. We've known Julius for seven years. He's been the same guy, the same valuable, important player to us. And we haven't seen a change in that," Hurney said. "He's a very competitive, prideful person that has always, through his actions, shown that he likes being a Carolina Panther; he likes being here; he likes his teammates. There's no reason to see a change in that."
Hurney noted he doesn't see any reason to worry about how Peppers will fit back in the locker room this year after being away throughout the past four months.
"I think that he has been an ideal teammate, an ideal player and he's been extremely valuable to us. There's no concern on this end," Hurney said.
Hurney added that there was nothing that would preclude the Panthers from placing the franchise tag on Peppers again next year if they saw fit.
"It's the standard contract for his tender. There are no contingencies, no promise to not franchise him or whatever," Hurney said.
With Peppers signed, the Panthers march into training camp with 21 of their 22 first-teamers from last year's 12-4 season still in the fold.
"It was a situation that you knew was going to take some time to work out," Hurney said. "It ended today with him signing his one-year tender, and we're excited about it."