CHARLOTTE, N.C. — When Hurricane Florence devastated the Carolina coast, Panthers defensive end Julius Peppers saw it as an opportunity to help his fellow man.

He started the Julius Peppers Hurricane Relief Fund through the Foundation of the Carolinas with $100,000 of his own money. He also encouraged teammates and fans for their support and even visited with Florence victims in Robeson County, North Carolina and Marlboro County, South Carolina.

Because of his dedication to improving the community and lifting up those in need, Peppers was nominated by the Panthers for the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year award. In addition to helping hurricane victims, Peppers spent time ahead of the midterm elections and spent time helping North Carolinians register to vote.

Peppers ranks fourth all-time with 158.5 career sacks, which is the most of any active NFL player. He holds multiple Panthers franchise records and is the only player in NFL history with 150 sacks and 10 interceptions. His six career defensive touchdowns are tied for third-most among all NFL defensive linemen and linebackers.

Peppers was recently named the Panthers Ed Block Courage Award winner, given to a player each season who demonstrates courage on and off the field. He was also named the Panthers nominee for the NFL’s Art Rooney Sportsmanship Award, which recognizes players around the league who exemplify outstanding sportsmanship on the field.