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New city won’t change Peppers’ inner circle

New Chicago Bears defensive end Julius Peppers was born and raised in North Carolina, went to college at North Carolina and, until signing with the Bears last week, spent his entire NFL career with the Carolina Panthers.

But he says a new city won’t change the people he surrounds himself with.

In a profile of Peppers in the Chicago Sun-Times, Sean Jensen writes that Peppers’ inner circle -- which includes his mother, a high school coach and a college academic adviser -- hasn’t much changed for his entire football career, and won’t much change despite the change in Peppers’ surroundings.

''You’ve got to control the environment you are surrounded by,’' Peppers said. ''Sometimes, when you’re in a position as a professional athlete, you attract clutter, and it’s hard to see through that and see through peoples’ motives. So if you keep the people you know and trust, most of the time, then you don’t have to worry about that.”

Peppers says that leaving North Carolina for Chicago was a tough step, but a step he’s ready for.

''It was tough to leave the home team,’' Peppers said. ''But as a person and as a player, I felt it was time for a new start.’'

Part of what makes that new start easier is having the same people around him.