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Peppers, who grew up in Bailey, N.C., and played in college at North Carolina, said last offseason that he wanted to leave his home state and play as an outside linebacker in a 3-4 defense. Peppers skipped all offseason workouts, but had little leverage with the franchise tag and signed the one-year tender before training camp.
He didn't miss a game or practice and seemed to warm to new defensive coordinator Ron Meeks' 4-3 system, lining up at different spots on the line. But in a brief interview after a Pro Bowl practice Saturday, Peppers acknowledged that, "I'm just trying to get on a team right now. I just want to get a contract."
Carey said Peppers is willing to play in any type of defense next season.
"He has indicated to me that he is open to hearing from the remaining 31 teams in the league," Carey said. "He is open to any defensive scheme at this point."
Peppers took up 14 percent of Carolina's salary cap this season. That meant the Panthers had to find cheap labor in other areas and the special teams units suffered as Carolina finished 8-8.
The Panthers may not have to worry about a salary cap in 2010 if a new collective bargaining agreement is not reached. But Carey believes the Panthers "have moved on."
"He feels like he is just now entering his prime," Carey said. "He has an incredibly bright future ahead of him as he opens the next chapter of his life and his career."
Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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