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Heels' Peppers Charged With Assault

Julius Peppers, North Carolina's sack leader last season, who also plays on the basketball team, has been charged with a misdemeanor count of assault and battery.

Peppers was allegedly involved in a fight early last Friday outside a 24-hour barbecue restaurant on Franklin Street near campus, according to police reports.

Andre Harris, 18, of Mebane, reported the incident to the Orange County magistrate, and police served Peppers with a warrant several hours later.

Peppers was released after signing a written promise to appear in district court in Hillsborough on Aug. 28, five days before the Tar Heels' season opener against Tulsa.

Harris wrote in a complaint that Peppers hit him in the mouth with a forearm in the midst of a melee involving several people.

"I saw Julius Peppers stomping one person with about five of his friends," Harris said in his complaint. "I told the police what he was doing and, during that, he was winding back and turned around and hit me with a forearm or something in my head."

Under UNC policy, the coach decides whether an athlete facing a misdemeanor charge will be suspended. An athlete facing a felony charge is automatically suspended.

Neither Peppers nor North Carolina coach Carl Torbush could be reached for comment. An athletics department spokesman said that Torbush was aware of the charge, but had not taken any action against Peppers.

Peppers led the Tar Heels with six sacks as a redshirt freshman last fall. After football season, he joined the basketball team as a walk-on power forward.

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