Panthers Back Win-Conscious Julius Peppers Heading Into 2009

Daniel PriceContributor IAugust 3, 2009

CHARLOTTE, NC - DECEMBER 14:  Julius Peppers #90 of the Carolina Panthers waits for the Denver Broncos offense during their game at Bank of America Stadium on December 14, 2008 in Charlotte, North Carolina  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images) season is here. And as with any new campaign, the "we love all of our teammates" and "I'll do anything to make us win" talk is here with it.

Today, on the first day of Panthers training camp—one that saw two players sidelined—Carolina quarterback Jake Dellhome supported the (now) formerly disgruntled Julius Peppers.

He said the offseason-long contract dispute—the one that gained more media attention than anything the Panthers have received since heading to their last Super Bowl—won't get a second thought.

He's probably right.

And just yesterday, Peppers himself told The Charlotte Observer that he will do everything he can to help his team win.

I don't sense any dishonesty. Though the reasoning behind what is expected to be a 100 percent effort is—at least to me—a bit, well let's just say not entirely team oriented.

He will do everything he can to help the Panthers win.

If he didn't and he had a season similar to his 2007 campaign, his season-long tryout for the other 31 NFL franchises will have been a failure, his stock won't be anywhere near what he is being paid this season (at least $16.7 million), and the Panthers themselves (with whom Peppers has said he has "maxed out") might be the highest bidders for his services in 2010.

He sure doesn't want that, what with Carolina's 4-3 defensive scheme in which he is trapped at defensive end.

Sure, the support behind Peppers is genuine, as is his promise to do everything he can to make the Panthers winners. But don't think for a second that his teammates think they'll be supporting him next year (they know he's gone) or that he will be completely happy as long as Carolina is putting a big number in the win column...even with a poor season.

This is pro football, folks. Let's not even pretend to think that it's all about competition.

It's about putting up with as much as you can from teammates before snapping, impressing every team every week in hopes of a big contract when your current deal is up, and...occasionally...trying to win football games.