Two former Bears players have been elected to the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame.
Cornerback Donnell Woolford, who played for the Bears from 1989 to 1996, and defensive end Julius Peppers, who played for the team from 2010 to 2013, have been honored by their home state, along with 10 others.
Woolford is a native of Fayetteville and played collegiately for Clemson. Peppers is a native of Bailey and played both football and basketball for the University of North Carolina.
The Bears selected Woolford with the 11th pick in the 1989 draft. For the next eight seasons, Woolford started at cornerback as well as contributing on special teams. Some of Woolford’s career highlights include his selections to the 1993 Pro Bowl and 1994 All-Pro team and his 32 career interceptions, the most for a Bears cornerback at the time of his retirement.
“I’m honored,” said Woolford. “It is a humbling experience to be recognized by your birth state, your hometown.”
Woolford finished his career with 603 tackles and 36 interceptions in nine NFL seasons.
Peppers came to the Bears as a free agent in 2010, after spending the first eight years of his career playing for the Carolina Panthers. In his four seasons in Chicago, Peppers recorded 37.5 sacks, 47 tackles-for-loss and three Pro Bowl selections. In his first season with the Bears, Peppers was also named first-team All-Pro.
Peppers would go on to play five more seasons in the NFL after parting ways with the Bears and retired with the fourth-most career sacks in league history and the second-most tackles for loss.
Peppers retired in 2018, having recorded 719 tackles, 175 tackles-for-loss and 159.5 sacks in his 18-year career.
The North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame will induct Woolford, Peppers and the rest of the 2020 class on Friday, May 1 at the Raleigh Convention Center. The North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame inducted its first class in 1963 and occupies one floor of the state’s Museum of History in Raleigh.