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updated: 3/16/2014 7:56 PM

So what if Peppers picked Packers?

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  • The fact that Julius Peppers has signed on with the rival Packers should do nothing to make Bears fans think it was the wrong move to let him go

      The fact that Julius Peppers has signed on with the rival Packers should do nothing to make Bears fans think it was the wrong move to let him go
    Associated Press

 
 

When it comes to the Bears, the rush to judge usually reveals a frivolous search for the good and bad, the sainted and evil, the righteous and sinful.

In simpler terms, the Bears and Packers.

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In the case of Julius Peppers, it's more proximity -- or familiarity -- that has Bears observers suddenly wondering if local football management messed up in dumping the expensive pass rusher.

What's odd is that since Halloween, it's been difficult to find a single ghost, goblin or human outside the Bears' locker room who believed Peppers should be back this year at last year's wages.

And if he had signed with San Diego, Oakland or Miami, the response would have been to thank Peppers for his service and wish him well on his journey.

Here's your hat, what's your hurry.

But since he signed with the Packers, there's a growing fear that the Bears have made a terrible mistake, that the right rests with Green Bay, the wrong with Chicago.

The reality is the Bears were right and the Packers might be.

The Bears needed $10 million in cap space and the Packers needed a pass rusher, albeit for less than half what the Bears would have had to pay in 2014.

Whether the Packers end up feeling like it was money well spent is neither here nor there, though there is a good chance that a motivated Peppers will play better there than he did here.

Speaking to the Packers' website, Peppers admitted that his performance in 2013 was "not up to my personal standards."

But, Peppers added, "I have a lot left in the tank. I have a lot left to give, a lot left to offer. I want to show people I can still play the game at a high level … I'm a pass rusher, so that's going to be a big part of what I can do. Play hard and have an impact in every game."

If Peppers had done that in Chicago, he'd still be playing in Chicago. He did not, so now he's playing in Green Bay, where he will watch Aaron Rodgers from the sideline.

"The teams that have the good quarterbacks are the teams that win. That obviously factored into some of my decision-making," Peppers said. "I'm looking forward to playing with Aaron. As much as I disliked chasing him around, I'm excited to join him."

That will undoubtedly be interpreted as a shot at Jay Cutler -- somehow -- but Peppers is no different from most NFL players. He took the most money available, and then talked about a chance to win a ring.

"That's the most important thing. I haven't won a championship," Peppers said. "That's where my focus is. I feel like the team is set up to make a run and I feel I can help get it there."

And then there's the scheme. Peppers has said for a while that he'd love the chance to play in a 3-4 defense.

"I'm going to let Coach McCarthy deal with questions about the position and the scheme," Peppers said. "I'm not really sure. We haven't talked in detail about what the plan is going to be for me, but I can say it's going to be something different."

It wouldn't be surprising if Peppers showed flashes in Green Bay of the play that earned him a big contract in Chicago. He displayed only a hint of it last year, when he wasn't trying to prove anything.

Either way, the Bears did what they had to do in order to sign several players with the money saved by cutting Peppers. That the Packers signed him changes nothing.

The hand-wringing, for the love of Wally Chambers and all that's holy, can stop any time now.

brozner@dailyherald.com

• Listen to Barry Rozner from 9 a.m. to noon Sundays on the Score's "Hit and Run" show at WSCR 670-AM.

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