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August 23, 2014

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Packers pick up Peppers to perk up pass pressure

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Paul Sancya / Associated Press

In this Sept. 29, 2013, file photo, Chicago Bears defensive end Julius Peppers watches from the bench during the fourth quarter of an NFL football game against the Detroit Lions in Detroit. The Bears released eight-time Pro Bowl defensive end Peppers, and he signed with the Green Bay Packers.

GREEN BAY, Wis. — The Green Bay Packers defense has gotten a big jolt from a big name: Eight-time Pro Bowl defensive end Julius Peppers.

The ex-Carolina Panthers and Chicago Bears defensive end signed a three-year deal with the Packers on Saturday morning, bringing one of the NFL's best pass-rushers to a team that has historically avoided major free-agent splashes.

The move was first reported by ESPN. Peppers' agent, Carl Carey, posted photos to his Twitter account of Peppers signing the deal and standing on the still-frozen tundra of Lambeau Field before the team announced it officially later in the day.

The Packers would not make Peppers available to media.

"I haven't won a championship," Peppers told the Packers' website. "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."

Peppers went to the Super Bowl in 2003 with the Panthers, losing to the New England Patriots.

The 34-year-old Peppers was released Tuesday by the Bears in a cost-cutting move. Peppers would have counted $18.183 million against Chicago's salary cap this season and had a base salary of $13 million.

Peppers played in all 64 of the Bears' games the past four seasons, posting 37.5 sacks. His 7.5 sacks last season were his fewest since a career-low 2.5 sacks in 2007, but he still would have led the Packers in that category in 2012.

In Green Bay, Peppers is reunited with Mike Trgovac, who coached him for his first seven seasons in Carolina. Trgovac, the Packers' defensive line coach, was Peppers' defensive line coach as a rookie in 2002 and his defensive coordinator from 2003 through 2008.

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