CHARLOTTE - Jon Beason apologized Thursday for calling out Carolina teammate Julius Peppers for his lack of production last week, even after the Panthers responded with their first win.
"After what happened, I realized I was wrong," Beason said on radio station WFNZ. "There are certain things you shouldn't say in public, certain things that should remain in-house. That's where I made my mistake."
After avoiding reporters in the locker room for nearly a week, the Pro Bowl linebacker said in his paid radio appearance that he never talked to Peppers after saying on the same station last week that "I'm going to have a conversation with that guy."
Peppers, a four-time Pro Bowl choice making an NFL-high $16.7 million salary this season, had one sack and 10 tackles in Carolina's 0-3 start. Beason last week said a teammate called him after Minnesota's Jared Allen got 4 1/2 sacks in a Monday night game, and Beason vowed to tell Peppers that "I need everything you've got."
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The Panthers then beat Washington 20-17 Sunday for their first victory of the season. Peppers had two sacks and made a key play to force a safety. Beason added a team-high 10 tackles, but the team's best defensive effort of the season apparently was not the result of any conversation.
"After I got a lot of negative pub from it, I decided not to even talk to him," Beason said.
Peppers, who rarely speaks to reporters, has declined interview requests since the incident.
Beason, Carolina's first-round pick in 2007, has led the team in tackles in each of the past two seasons. He's been known for a fiery attitude and was voted a defensive captain by his teammates.
"Jon is a good person," defensive tackle Damione Lewis said. "He really cares about the team and cares how we perform and cares how each individual performs, which he should being a leader and the heartbeat of our defense. That's his role. It's totally understand where he was coming from, but it could have been handled in a different manner."
Peppers had a sack in a 38-10 loss to Philadelphia, but did little the next two weeks as Carolina got off to its worst start since 1998.
But Peppers had four tackles, two for a loss, three quarterback hurries and two sacks against the Redskins.
Beason on Thursday called Peppers a "true pro," while his teammates said it is not an issue in the locker room.
"He's just a very passionate person and sometimes he says things that come across a little strong," Lewis said of Beason. "We all know him and know how he is so I know none of us took offense to what he said because we know him. I think it got played out of proportion."