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Bears DE Julius Peppers says UNC grades are legit

Chicago Bears Vs WashingtRedskins Pre-SeasFootball.  1St-Half Action.  Chicago Bears No.90 Julius Peppers recovers lose ball after teammate 71

Chicago Bears Vs Washington Redskins Pre-Season Football. 1St-Half Action. Chicago Bears No.90 Julius Peppers recovers the lose ball after teammate 71 Isreal Idonije caused a fumble on Washington Redskins Q.B. No.10 Robert Griffin III. August 18, 2012. I Scott Stewart~Sun-Times

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Updated: October 22, 2014 1:04PM

Bears Pro Bowl defensive end Julius Peppers confirmed that an academic transcript posted on the University of North Carolina’s website last week was his but said in a statement that while ‘‘at times some of my priorities were not always aligned properly,’’ he was not a beneficiary of academic fraud while a student at North Carolina from 1997 to 2001.

The transcript showed that many of Peppers’ highest grades were in the Department of African and Afro-American Studies (AFAM). A school investigation revealed fraud and poor oversight in AFAM classes between 2007 and 2011, with football players making up more than a third of the enrollment in those suspect courses.

‘‘I can assure everyone that there is no academic fraud as it relates to my college transcript,’’ Peppers said in a statement released by his agent. ‘‘I took every course with qualified members of the UNC faculty, and I earned every grade, whether it was good or bad.

‘‘I was never given unapproved assistance or preferential treatment in terms of my academic career because I was a student-athlete. I was also never deemed ineligible to compete on any of the football or basketball teams.’’

The transcript was apparently mistakenly posted on the school’s website and removed soon after it was discovered.

‘‘This week has been an upsetting and challenging week for me, as one of my most private academic documents appeared on the university’s website for public examination,’’ Peppers said in the statement. ‘‘I’m terribly disappointed in the fact that my privacy has been violated, as well as frustrated with whoever negligently and carelessly committed such a flagrant error.’’

Welcome, rookie

Peppers and Israel Idonije gave Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III an indication of the speed of the game in the NFL from the start.

On the first series, Peppers chased down Griffin rolling to his left to force an incompletion. Idonije forced a scrambling Griffin out of bounds for a two-yard loss on the next play to force a punt.

On the Redskins’ third offensive series, Idonije forced a Griffin fumble on a scramble, and Peppers recovered at the 9-yard line to set up a touchdown for a 14-0 lead in the first quarter. Idonije also combined with Matt Toeaina on a sack on the last play of the first quarter.

Changing of the guard?

After Chris Spencer’s unimpressive debut at left guard in the preseason opener, the Bears ratcheted up the competition. Backup Chilo Rachal replaced Spencer with the first team for the Bears’ fourth series.

Spencer had a false start and was unable to pick up blitzing linebacker Lorenzo Alexander, who forced Jay Cutler to throw an incomplete pass on a third-and-16 play.

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