CHARLOTTE – Nelly is performing at halftime of Monday night’s game against the Saints, an announcement that excited several players.
But that excitement paled in comparison to the sheer joy that spread through the locker room when those same players learned that 37-year-old defensive end Julius Peppers made several appearances in Nelly’s “Hot in Herre” music video just before he entered the NFL as a rookie in 2002.
Wide receiver Curtis Samuel’s eyes nearly popped out of his head as he watched a clip of Peppers from the video.
“Whoa! No way! Yoooooo!” Samuel screamed. “Stop playing! Man, no way!”
Locker neighbor Torrey Smith then chimed in.
“That’s young Pep!?” Smith shouted. “Man, that’s one of the best music videos of all time!”
Quarterback Cam Newton literally froze when he first caught a glimpse of Peppers in the video.
“I need you to airdrop this to me,” Newton said, still in disbelief. “I need a screenshot of this.”
As the clip began circulating around the locker room, rookie cornerback Donte Jackson laughed at the thought of Peppers finding out.
“He’s not going to want me to see this,” Jackson said before lowering his voice to do a spot-on Peppers impression. “He’d probably be like, ‘Oh, you know D-Jack, I was just young. It was fun times.’”
Nelly also included Peppers in the lyrics of "Heart of a Champion" released a couple of years later ("That's why I'm back up at the Super Bowl - with Julius Peppers")
We’ll see what Nelly, and Peppers, have in store for the crowd Monday night.