You've got to credit John Fox for one thing -- the Panthers' coach is unfailingly consistent.
He's always loved Julius Peppers. Fox has defended Peppers from all criticism, whether justified (that horrendous 2.5-sack year of 2007) or not. Like Tammy Wynette once sang, he has stood by his man.
And so Fox's comments Wednesday in California at the NFL owners' meetings (to reporters including The Observer's own Charles Chandler) come as little surprise. Fox doesn't think Peppers would be overpaid at $1 million per game in 2009 if he's not traded (yeah, right). Fox even makes an analogy to Elton John or Bono (which is hilarious, given Peppers' incredibly shy tendencies -- the guy is a fine football player, for sure, but he's never been an entertainer).
From reading Charles' informative post from California -- and I'd urge you to do so if you haven't already -- Fox sounded unflappable. If Peppers gets traded, the coach says he's fine. If Peppers stays, Fox is fine. But in the meantime, Fox loves the guy and doesn't even profess to care that Peppers believes he can't reach his full potential as a Panther. (I don't believe that part -- that's got to sting a little).
In any case, I give Fox kudos for finally addressing the issue -- at least to some extent -- and for his consistency. The coach always is who he is, no matter what your definition of "is" is.
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