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Carolina Panthers

Julius Peppers pens "thank-you" note to coaches, teammates, fans

After 17 seasons, 266 games, 715 tackles, 159.5 sacks and 51 forced fumbles, Julius Peppers is calling it a career.

The future Hall of Famer on Friday officially announced his retirement, but before he walked away, he asked to share some thoughts with the Panthers' fan base.

Earlier this week, Peppers stopped by Bank of America Stadium to clean out his locker and reminisce about a ride that began in 2002. There were some twists and turns along the way, but ultimately, he made his way back home.

Click 'play' below to hear Peppers' message to those who joined him along his journey:

Peppers' Thank-You Message

Thank you.

For the victories and the good times.

For the lessons and the times we desired more.

For the sacrifices, the belief, the confidence and the unwavering support – I'm thankful.

Because without you, this wasn't possible.

Thank you for the spirit, the resolve and the attitude to Keep Pounding. It's not something we just say around here, it's how we live.

I'm thankful for the things you showed me about life that were bigger than football and for a second chance – a new beginning.

See the players, we come and we go, but the constant is you. And as the saying goes, "Once a Panther, always a Panther."

Thank you for the memories, the friendships, the laughs and the culture we created.

For the understanding and for being family.

Thanks for all the years, and cheers.

And for being home now and forever.

I wouldn't change a thing about this journey. It was the best teacher I've ever had and was everything I could've hoped for.

The tough times never lasted and the tough people inspired me to be better and give more. I hope I did the same.

Only time can reveal what's next, but my time here is up. No regrets, no looking back and nothing left to give.

It's not goodbye, it's kinda like, "I'll see you later." But until then I'm grateful, I'm satisfied and at peace with all that comes next.

Thank you.

View 90 photos of the legendary defensive end from his time in a Panthers uniform.