GREEN BAY – About five years ago, Julius Peppers started thinking about trying to get to 100 career sacks.
"From there, you keep trying to climb the charts," the veteran pass-rusher said.
Peppers has climbed those charts all season, all the way up to fifth on the all-time sacks list now with 142½. Peppers' second-quarter sack of Houston QB Brock Osweiler on Sunday moved him out of a tie with Michael Strahan and into sole possession of fifth place.
With 6½ sacks so far this season, Peppers' 15th in the NFL, he has moved past John Randle, Richard Dent, Jason Taylor and now Strahan. Next up is Chris Doleman in fourth (150½), eight sacks away.
"It's an honor," said Peppers, not one to talk much about milestones and career achievements when he's in the midst of playing. "It's great company to be in, a great accomplishment and all those things. I got home and reflected a little bit on it."
All of the aforementioned sack masters above and below Peppers on the all-time list are Pro Football Hall of Famers, except Taylor, who is eligible for the first time this year and is now a semifinalist.
It would seem Peppers is headed to the Hall of Fame as well, but again, it's not an issue he gives a lot of thought to at the moment.
"Not yet, not yet," he said. "That's something that's somewhat out of my control. I don't really put a lot of focus and emphasis on it. I'm hoping, but we'll see when the time comes for that in 10 years or so."
His energies for the moment are being directed toward keeping the Packers' two-game winning streak and late-season playoff push going. He feels the team is "building again" and "getting back on track."
With one more sack, Peppers will reach seven for the ninth straight year, and for the 14th time in his 15-year career. Teammates marvel at his consistency over the course of such a long career as much as anything.
Peppers was not a full-time player earlier in the season, but the strategy of monitoring his snaps could be paying off, as the veteran has a sack in each of the last three games. It's his first three-game sack streak since Weeks 4-6 of last season.
"I'm just trying to take advantage of the opportunities when I'm on the field," he said. "I feel like you need to try to make something happen when you're out there.
"I feel good. I'm rested."
Rested enough to keep climbing for 200 sacks? That's the number in the No. 1 spot, held by Bruce Smith.
"That's a little ambitious, but who knows? Who knows," he said.
"I don't think so. Not for me, anyway. Somebody else, maybe."