Getty Images; Pacific Coast News; Melissa Herwitt/E! Illustration
But the enviably coiffed singer, who went solo in 2016, has packed a lot of living into his 25 years and, as it turns out, 6-foot-tall drinks of water run deep.
With millions of albums sold as a member of one of the biggest boy bands of all time and on his own, a well-received movie debut and approximately 1,000 suit patterns to his name, devoted Stylers of the world can't wait to see what he does next.
Karter showed off her indelible loyalty on Instagram, and it looks about as real as it gets.
But, in lieu of tattooing Harry's anything on our bodies, here are 25 important things you may not have known about him in honor of his 25th birthday:
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1. TUESDAY'S CHILD
Harry Edward Styles was born on Feb. 1, 1994, in the Worcestershire town of Evesham, to Anne Cox and Desmond Styles. He has an older sister named Gemma, who was born in 1990.
The family moved to Holmes Chapel, in Cheshire, when he was a baby and, according to Anne, her son's first word was "cat."
Styles called the village of about 5,000 people that he grew up in "quite boring," but "picturesque."
2. MODERN FAMILY
In the 1D biography Dare to Dream, Harry recalled crying—not a normal occurrence for him—when his parents told him and Gemma that they were splitting up. He was 7.
"I guess I didn't really get what was going on properly, I was just sad that my parents wouldn't be together anymore," he said.
Des and Anne continued to live together for another two years before he moved out and Anne moved Harry and Gemma to Northwich, in the Cheshire countryside. By the time Harry was a teenager, they lived back in Holmes Chapel.
After being together for over a decade, Anne married Robin Twist in 2013. Harry walked his mom down the aisle and was best man at their wedding.
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3. FRESH OUT OF THE OVEN
By all accounts, Harry was an attention-loving, creative little boy and a born entertainer (whether it was singing or streaking through a train station in his boxers). He got a rush from doing school plays, and the music he'd listen to with his dad on weekends—classic rock like Elvis Presley, the Beatles, Pink Floyd and Queen—helped shape his own taste.
According to Louisa Jepson's 2013 biography Harry Styles—Every Piece of Me, the first recording he made, using a karaoke machine that was a present from his grandfather, was Elvis' "The Girl of My Best Friend." As he got older, Coldplay, John Mayer and Noel Gallagher joined his roster of favorites.
When he first got into a band at around 14, Harry intended to learn the bass, but they already had a guy who played bass, so he ended up being the singer. They called themselves White Eskimo and ended up winning their school's Battle of the Bands competition, which came with a £100 prize and helped them score their first gig, playing a wedding.
"He's certainly not shy about himself," Anne told Nowmagazine about her son in 2010. "Ever since he was young he's made people smile. I always thought he'd end up on stage."
Meanwhile, Harry earned a little extra scratch—£6 an hour—working at W. Mandeville bakery on Saturdays.
"He was the most polite member of staff we've ever had," his former boss, Simon Wakefield, told the Mirror in 2013, when Styles returned to the shop to shoot scenes for One Direction: This Is Us. "Customers really took a shine to him."
Wakefield continued, "The shop suddenly had an influx of girls when Harry worked here. Sometimes there would be 12 of them pouring in at one time. Even now, a group of 20 girls will sometimes come in and start taking photos of the shop. He was a really hard worker. His jobs were serving in the shop, cleaning the back, scrubbing the floor, washing the trays and cleaning the counter."
4. FRONT MAN
Anne was the one who ended up sending Harry's X Factor application in when he got cold feet.
"People tell me I'm a good singer. It's normally my mum," the 16-year-old said, already the charmer, when he auditioned for The X Factor in the spring of 2010, performing Stevie Wonders' "Isn't She Lovely" a cappella. "Singing is what I want to do and if people who can make that happen for me think I shouldn't be doing that, then it's a major setback in my plans."
Well, they did and they didn't. Harry didn't make it through to the final Boys group, or even to the penultimate Boys group, but the show didn't want to let him go.
Fatefully, Simon Cowell and Nicole Scherzinger, who was a guest judge filling in for Cheryl Cole, thought to group Harry together with fellow aspiring solo artists Liam Payne, Niall Horan, Zayn Malik and Louis Tomlinson.
"Come on, I'm not going to take credit, but I'm going to take credit," Scherzinger says in the 2013 documentary One Direction: Going Our Way about her usually uncredited role in capturing lightning in a bottle. (Louis Walsh, meanwhile, was the other judge, the one who infamously didn't get Harry at all.)
It was Harry, however, who came up with the group's name.
"I thought it sounded good," he recalled on CBS Sunday Morning in 2017. "We threw around names for a little bit, and I honestly don't know. I suggested it and everyone was like, 'Yeah, we like that,' and then it kind of stuck, and that was what it was."
"Basically we just came up with the idea to make loads of names up," Zayn said on Phoenix's Hot 97.5 FM in 2012, "and it was one of the first names Harry came up with. He just texted it to us and we were like, 'Yeah, I like that, it's cool.' There were some really embarrassing ones that Liam came up with...What was the other one? USP—Unique Selling Point."
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5. IT WAS STILL SCARY
In October 2010, One Direction hit the X Factor stage live for the first time.
"I know I'm his mum, but he really is a lovely young man and he's coming across exactly as he is at home," Anne praised Harry to Now during his run on the show.
"But when he went off to the X Factor house I said to him, 'Keep true to who you are, Harry, don't turn into an arse. You'll still have to unload the dishwasher when you get home.'"
Even though he was born to do this for a living, once the live shows began, Harry started having panic attacks before going onstage, per Alice Montgomery's Harry. One time he threw up in the hall first, and he eventually took to drinking sparkling mineral water and doing breathing exercises to settle himself.
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6. THIRD'S THE CHARM
Before moving on to win at life, One Direction didn't actually win The X Factor in December 2010. In fact, they came in third, behind series seven champ Matt Cardle and runner-up Rebecca Ferguson.
7. TAKE ME HOME
"I used to be friends with girls as well as boys," Harry once said, remembering his primary school days, according to biographer Louisa Jepson. "I wasn't one of those boys who thought girls were smelly and didn't like them. I was kind of friends with everyone."
His White Eskimo bandmate Will Sweeny told the Daily Star, "I know it sounds funny but, even in primary school, he had a few girls on the go. It was rather amusing. From Year Four, when he was about 10, Harry started with proper girlfriends. He just had this unbelievable way with girls all his life."
Louis Tomlinson once told The Sun, perhaps needling his pal on purpose a bit, that the only problem with sharing a flat with Harry "is the constant stream of women he is getting through our door. It's relentless." (Surely Louis could've gone toe-to-toe with his roommate, but he was in a relationship with Eleanor Calder.)
Dad Desmond assured Jepson, however, that when his son was serious about a girl, he was a one-woman bloke.
Harry also took safety seriously. "The first time I had sex, I was scared I got the girl pregnant," he told OK! in 2012. "And that was despite the fact we were safe. Luckily, we were fine. To get lazy and say you'll be fine is selfish."
Ian Gavan/Getty Image
8. AGE IS BUT A NUMBER
Performing wasn't the only thing young Harry was confident about.
After One Direction won The X Factor, in 2011 Harry publicly set his sights on 22-year-old Frankie Bridge of The Saturdays and 31-year-old Caroline Flack, host of the X Factor supplement The Xtra Factor.
"I've been in love with Frankie since I was about 8 and she was in S Club Juniors," he told the Daily Star Sunday. "I even had posters of her. I'd love to kiss her. Frankie and Caroline Flack are my favorites, they're both hot." After the interview, he commented on The X Factor website, "If Caroline Flack is reading this, say 'hi' from me. She's gorgeous!"
In October 2011, Harry and Caroline came face to face at a show after-party at London's W Hotel and they left together (though, according to Alice Montgomery, nothing in particular occurred between them that night).
"We were both single, we got on well and we had a laugh," Flack wrote in her 2015 memoir, Storm in a C Cup. "It was only when it become public knowledge that things turned sour. At the beginning it was all very playful. He joked about being attracted to older women."
Even while they insisted they were just friends, One Directioners came out in force to lay claim to Harry, resulting in Flack tweeting, "I'm close friends with Harry. He's one of the nicest people I know. I don't deserve death threats."
"Flack off, Caroline," read a banner on display at a 1D concert.
Meanwhile, neither fans nor critics would lay off the 14-year age gap. "What's hard for me to get my head around is people saying it's disgusting," Flack told Now. "I don't think it is. Some people tend to see the negative immediately and that's what I find strange. If two people like each other and get on, why does anyone else find a negative in it?"
With 1D on the verge of international super-stardom, however, the pair quietly stopped seeing other in early 2012.
"The single guys from One Direction are going to have a lot of fun," Justin Bieber, wise at 18, told the Daily Mirror after watching the guys perform at the 2012 Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards—where Harry ended up meeting Taylor Swift.
"I already know one of the biggest artists in the world thinks Harry is so hot," Bieber added, "but I have been sworn to secre
9. JUST BEING HIMSELF
Harry appeared with the rest of 1D on a 2012 episode of iCarly, in which the band is due to perform (as themselves) but Harry catches, um, "jungle worms" after drinking out of Carly's water bottle, shortly after the doctor warns her she could still be contagious and to not go around kissing anyone yet. And even after he's better, Harry insists he still has that mysterious affliction so that Carly will keep taking care of him.
Those crazy kids! Eventually Harry gets better and 1D can go ahead with singing "That's What Makes You Beautiful."
This brief moment in history lives on on YouTube and in the form of tweets like this gem from 2013: "If you feel rejected just know- Harry Styles refused to kiss Miranda Cosgrove in the original script of the One Direction episode of iCarly."
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10. AMERICAN BEAUTY
"She's a great girl and she's extremely talented," Harry told Seventeen appreciatively that summer about meeting Taylor. "Honestly, she couldn't be a sweeter person."
Not content with just regional fanaticism, Styles went all in on global obsession when he started dating Swift in the fall of 2012.
Though it wasn't meant to last, Taylor was there when One Direction played Madison Square Garden for the first time that December (Harry was pelted with bras, undies and, inexplicably, an iPhone) and the two were the prince and princess of pop for a few shining months, from their public date in Central Park that was so photographed it felt like five dates, to their whirlwind trip to the English countryside (Harry's old stomping grounds of Northwich), to their ill-fated trip to the Caribbean that ended with Taylor on a boat, alone.
"When I see photos from that day," Styles told Rolling Stone in 2017, about their NYC park date, "I think: Relationships are hard, at any age. And adding in that you don't really understand exactly how it works when you're 18, trying to navigate all that stuff didn't make it easier. I mean, you're a little bit awkward to begin with. You're on a date with someone you really like. It should be that simple, right? It was a learning experience for sure. But at the heart of it—I just wanted it to be a normal date."
Referring to Swift's songs "Out of the Woods" and "Style," assumed to be about Harry though Taylor will never tell, Styles said, "I'm lucky if everything helped create those songs. That's what hits your heart. That's the stuff that's hardest to say, and it's the stuff I talk least about. That's the part that's about the two people. I'm never going to tell anybody everything."
Asked if he had anything he would say to Swift, he mused, "Certain things don't work out. There's a lot of things that can be right, and it's still wrong. In writing songs about stuff like that, I like tipping a hat to the time together. You're celebrating the fact it was powerful and made you feel something, rather than 'this didn't work out, and that's bad.' And if you run into that person, maybe it's awkward, maybe you have to get drunk … but you shared something. Meeting someone new, sharing those experiences, it's the best s--t ever. So thank you."
Somebody frame that evergreen statement, stat.
11. SNOW DAYS
Harry likes snowboarding.
12. BATHING BEAUTIES
"They've been having fun," a source told E! News in January 2014 after Harry and Kendall Jenner were spotted in Mammoth together. "We're friends. He's cool," added Kendall at the 2013 American Music Awards that November.
Such was the start of a long are-they-or-aren't-they friendship that has taken them everywhere from Southern California to Anguilla and St. Barts.
Asked if he'd written any songs about Kendall, Styles told Rolling Stone in 2017, "She's a huge part of the album. Sometimes you want to tip the hat, and sometimes you just want to give them the whole cap...and hope they know it's just for them."
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13. FAN FICTION
No, any photos you might have seen over the years in which Harry and Louis—or "Larry," as some took to calling them—appeared to be kissing were fake.
"That is Photoshopped," Styles explained on Australia's Sunrise, looking at a picture in an actual magazine in which he and Tomlinson were puckering up toward each other. "There was a lady in there."
"They've actually done this to me and Niall as well," Louis added. "When somebody's in the middle, they just take the person out from the middle. It's very clever, actually."
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14. UNMAKING THE BAND
In 2014, it was Harry who suggested while they were in the studio in London (very Beatles-esque) that One Direction might want to take a break.
"I didn't want to exhaust our fan base," he told Rolling Stone. "If you're shortsighted, you can think, 'Let's just keep touring,' but we all thought too much of the group than to let that happen. You realize you're exhausted and you don't want to drain people's belief in you."
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15. SCATTERING TO THE FOUR WINDS
His mates agreed, and then Zayn, who had been struggling with anxiety and having issues with fiancée Perrie Edwards (in that tabloids were reporting that he was cheating on her) got a jump on the break in March 2015 and left the group.
The rest of One Direction soldiered on, preparing their devoted fans for the inevitable with an announcement in August about their planned hiatus. Their last concert was on Oct. 31, a scary night indeed for the 1D faithful, at Britain's Sheffield Arena.
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16. ABOUT THAT ZAYNINESS...
In response to Zayn Malik calling One Direction's music uncool—or at least nothing he would play on a date if he was trying to impress a girl over dinner—Harry stayed diplomatic.
"I think it's a shame he felt that way, but I never wish anything but luck to anyone doing what they love," Styles told Rolling Stone.
"If you're not enjoying something and need to do something else, you absolutely should do that. I'm glad he's doing what he likes, and good luck to him."
Presley Ann/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images
17. BALANCING ACT
"I didn't want to write 'stories,' " he explained to RSabout his 10-song debut solo album, fittingly titled Harry Styles. "I wanted to write my stories, things that happened to me. The number-one thing was I wanted to be honest. I hadn't done that before."
That being said, the game was on when it came to figuring out what, or who, he was singing about.
"I like to separate my personal life and work," Harry said. "It helps, I think, for me to compartmentalize. It's not about trying to make my career longer, like I'm trying to be this 'mysterious character,' because I'm not. When I go home, I feel like the same person I was at school. You can't expect to keep that if you show everything. There's the work and the personal stuff, and going between the two is my favorite s--t. It's amazing to me."
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18. IF "SIGN OF THE TIMES" DIDN'T MAKE YOU CRY BEFORE...
"The song is written from a point of view as if a mother was giving birth to a child and there's a complication," he told RS. "The mother is told, 'The child is fine, but you're not going to make it.' The mother has five minutes to tell the child, 'Go forth and conquer.'"
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19. MANE MAN
Harry Styles' hair, at any length, has long been one of his most fetching physical attributes. In 2017, British Vogue dissected a photo taken of Harry's dressing table before he went onstage in Paris one night and counted seven hair products, plus a bottle of Tom Ford Tobacco Vanille, a Diptyque candle and Sunday Riley face oil.
"I find it quite amusing that Harry has the regime of a very brand-savvy beauty editor—props to him for the Ouai hair products (which I love) and the Sunday Riley oil in particular," Vogue beauty editor Lisa Niven noted. "And who wouldn't put a Diptyque candle on their rider?"
Before he returned to the spotlight to start promoting his solo music, only a few million people noticed that he had cut his hair.
"I felt very naked for a while," he admitted to Vogue. I was like yeah, I've gotta shave my hair off. It wasn't a hard decision, it got made into a wig."
20. YOUR EYES DON'T DECEIVE YOU
It's true, Harry has four nipples, two supernumerary ones located beneath his two regularly placed ones.
Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for HS
21. IF THE SUIT FITS
While Harry rocked tight pants and a rumpled T-shirt like no other while part of One Direction, he's been sporting fiercely tailored suits, or at least slacks and a dashing jacket, ever since.
"I think both music and fashion, main influence was probably Shania Twain," Styles told Entertainment Tonight. "Yeah, I think she's amazing."
Well, mom Anne did play a lot of Shania, along with Norah Jones and Savage Garden, in the '90s, while dad Des was home-schooling his son in rock 'n' roll.
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22. STORMING THE BIG SCREEN
Simultaneously juggling his musical ambitions, Harry made his feature film debut in Christopher Nolan's sweeping World War II action drama Dunkirk, which came out in July 2017 and went on to be nominated for eight Oscars, winning three.
Asked who it was harder to audition for, Nolan or Simon Cowell, Styles said on ITV's This Morningthat it was probably Nolan, "in that he doesn't say anything. Like at all. He just sits in the darkness in the back of the room... It's so intense because you do the audition and go home and obsess over whether people liked you or not."
At least he could rest assured that Nolan wasn't doing him any favors.
"I don't think I was that aware really of how famous Harry was," the director told the Associated Press. "I mean, my daughter had talked about him. My kids talked about him, but I wasn't really that aware of it. So the truth is, I cast Harry because he fit the part wonderfully and truly earned a seat at the table."
Styles admitted that walking onto the set of a big-budget war epic was a bit intimidating at first.
"The first surprising thing was the scale of the production," he told The Big Issue. You walk onset the first day and get taken aback by everything." And for his first film, he had to figure out how to keep his head above water—literally.
In one of many harrowing scenes, Styles' character, British Army soldier Alex, almost drowns. "While you're down there filming and acting out the scene, you're also thinking, 'I cannot breathe for much longer than this' which obviously helps the situation," Harry recalled to USA Today. The day before he arrived in France to start shooting, "they were asking if I could swim. And it was a lot of swimming. It was more like, 'If we make you swim forever, will you drown?'"
23. THANKS, I'LL BE HERE ALL NIGHT
And...he's funny, too.
While ubiquitous in 2017 promoting his music, Harry also convincingly filled in for James Corden as host of The Late, Late Show (he even pulled off the American political humor). Coincidentally, back in England some years ago, while house-hunting in Hampstead Heath, Harry spent almost two years staying at the home ofLate, Late Show executive producer Ben Winston and his wife, Meredith. He slept on a mattress in the attic.
Obviously he was away a lot, being a major pop star, but still.
Styles told RS that he was too afraid of Meredith to bring anyone home, but Winston insisted, "He wasn't always alone, but it was exciting seeing the array of A-listers that would come up and sleep in the attic. Or he'd come and lounge with us. We'd never discuss business. He would act as if he hadn't come back from playing to 80,000 people three nights in a row in Rio de Janeiro."
Meanwhile, also in 2017, Styles played Mick Jagger (because, well, duh) on Saturday Night Live while playing musical guest to Jimmy Fallon's host, and then in July on The Tonight Show he told Jimmy he wouldn't mind hosting that show, too. His wish was Jimmy's command, as he promptly pretended to keel over and Harry sat down comfortably behind the desk.
24. NOBODY'S PERFECT
CBS' Happy Together, Styles' first foray into U.S. network TV as an executive producer, was canceled after its initial 13-episode run.
Handout/Helene Marie Pambrun via Getty Images
25. GOOD TO THE LAST MIC DROP
When his first solo tour concluded in July 2018, selling almost 1 million tickets between 89 shows, it turned out that between a portion of his proceeds and contributions from promoter Live Nation and GLSEN PRIDE campaign, $1.2 million had been donated to various charities.
U.S. Senator Cory Booker speaks outside his home in Newark, New Jersey, on Feb. 1, 2019, after announcing his bid for the White House in 2020.Dominick Reuter / AFP - Getty Images
Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., officially launched his 2020 presidential campaign Friday, invoking a message of economic populism and racial justice along with a veiled swipe at President Donald Trump's leadership.
The 49-year-old former mayor of Newark, New Jersey. who joined a fast-growing field of hopefuls vying for a White House run, released a video and sent an email to supporters announcing his decision.
"I believe that we can build a country where no one is forgotten, no one is left behind; where parents can put food on the table; where there are good paying jobs with good benefits in every neighborhood; where our criminal justice system keeps us safe, instead of shuffling more children into cages and coffins; where we see the faces of our leaders on television and feel pride, not shame," Booker said.
"It is not a matter of can we, it's a matter of do we have the collective will, the American will? I believe we do. Together, we will channel our common pain back into our common purpose. Together, America, we will rise."
Booker becomes the second African-American to enter the 2020 race, after Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif. His decision to announce his candidacy Feb. 1 — the first day of Black History Month — could be seen as a nod to the historic nature of his bid to become the nation's second black president.
"The history of our nation is defined by collective action; by interwoven destinies of slaves and abolitionists; of those born here and those who chose America as home; of those who took up arms to defend our country, and those who linked arms to challenge and change it," he said.
Booker kicked off his campaign by calling in to two radio shows with a largely African-American audience and an interview almost entirely in Spanish on Univision's morning show, Despierta América.
"Folks are feeling left out, folks are feeling left behind…I'm running for president to change that," Booker said on the nationally syndicated Tom Joyner Morning Show.
He also spoke about mass incarceration and inequality, advocating for criminal justice, drug law reform and an end to marijuana "prohibition," while pushing a message of unity and inclusion.
"It's time for a more radical empathy in this country," he said on the show.
Booker was elected to the Senate in 2013 and has earned a reputation as one of the body's most outspoken members. His profile grew as he fiercely criticized Trump and his policies.
He made history in 2017 when, as a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, he took a seat in front of the panel and testified against then-Sen. Jeff Sessions' nomination for attorney general. He was also part of the Democratic charge against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, and prompted controversy releasing a batch of documents about Trump's pick for the high court.
Despite his role as an adversary of the Trump administration, Booker also helped shepherd the White House's sweeping criminal justice reform bill through the Senate, which the president signed into law last year.
Booker's campaign said it plans to reject corporate donors, super PACs and contributions from federal lobbyists.
He plans to travel to the early states of Iowa and South Carolina next week and New Hampshire over President's Day weekend. Booker gave the keynote address at the Iowa Democratic Party's Fall Gala in October.
"I've spent my entire career running at problems people said couldn't be solved," Booker said. "My conviction is that we can do impossible things when we come together."
He also said he expects some "sibling rivalry" in the Democratic primary, calling Harris and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., "friends" and "sisters." But, he said, the primary shouldn't be about attacking each other.
“I don't want it to be defined by what we're against, but by what we're for. I don't want it to be defined by beating Republicans, but by uniting Americans."
Gillibrand, D-N.Y. welcomed him to the race, calling him one of her "closest friends."
"Congratulations and welcome to the race to one of my closest friends, @corybooker! I'll be cheering you on — just, you know, not TOO hard," she wrote, along with an old video of the pair ribbing each other.
"I can't think of anyone better to represent and unite the American people. Cory makes a great friend, and will make an even greater president," Menendez said Friday on Twitter. "I can't wait to support you on this journey—I'm all in!"
One critic told the lawmaker he could not wait to see Trump "crush your soul," to which Booker shot back: "My soul belongs to God. I fear no man. And I believe that anyone's individual capacity to denigrate will never be as strong as our collective power to elevate."
In another tweet, the Hot Pockets official Twitter account told Booker, "don’t forget about us when you get elected" and attached an old photo of the lawmaker with the product.
Booker responded: "My dad used to say to me: 'Boy, don’t forget where you came from and the people who sacrificed to get you to where you are'."
Peppers, 39, is projected by many to be a first-ballot Hall of Fame selection when he becomes eligible for enshrinement in Canton, Ohio, in five years. His total of 159.5 career sacks trails only Kevin Greene (160), Reggie White (198) and Bruce Smith (200).
"No doubt a first-ballot Hall of Fame inductee," former teammate Kevin Donnalley, a guard with the Panthers early in Peppers' career and a member of the team broadcast crew the past few seasons, told ESPN. "Just the one stat alone, fourth in all-time sacks, makes him that."And reaching a number that today's current players still might not get close to. ... When you couple he was so productive for so many years and he's got the stats to back it up ... it's just a no-brainer. I don't know why it would be in discussion."
A quiet, behind-the-scenes leader for most of his career, Peppers became more vocal in the locker room and the community when he returned to Carolina for his second stint after spending seven years with the Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers following his first eight years with the Panthers.
Peppers, who is nominated for this year's Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award that will be announced Saturday at NFL Honors in Atlanta, said his goodbye in a video in which he said:
"Thank you. For the victories and the good times. For the lessons and the times we desired more. For the sacrifices, the belief, the confidence and the unwavering support -- I'm thankful. Because without you, this wasn't possible. Thank you for the spirit, the resolve and the attitude to Keep Pounding. It's not something we just say around here. It's how we live. I'm thankful for the things you showed me about life that were bigger than football and for a second chance -- a new beginning.
"See, the players, we come and we go, but the constant is you. And as the saying goes, 'Once a Panther, always a Panther.' Thank you for the memories, the friendships, the laughs and the culture we created. For the understanding and for being family. Thanks for all the years and cheers. And for being home now and forever.
"I wouldn't change a thing about this journey. It was the best teacher I've ever had and was everything I could've hoped for. The tough times never lasted, and the tough people inspired me to be better and give more. I hope I did the same. Only time can reveal what's next, but my time here is up. No regrets, no looking back and nothing left to give. It's not goodbye. It's kinda like, 'I'll see you later.' But until then I'm grateful, I'm satisfied and at peace with all that comes next."
Peppers was a model of consistency. He had at least seven sacks in all but two seasons, including a career-best 14.5 in 2008.
"Getting to know him over the last two seasons has been tremendous because of the type of person he is. What he did for the people affected by Hurricane Florence, getting involved and bringing them hope, says a lot about who he is. I'm proud that I get to say that I was one of his coaches, and I think it's fitting that he gets to end his career as a Carolina Panther."
General manager Marty Hurney said few players make him think of the word "special," and Peppers is one of them.
"He's a special player and a special person," said Hurney, who made Peppers his first draft pick. "His consistency and the ability to make big plays at big times are what define him on the field. Off the field, he's a great leader. He chooses his words carefully. He's got great perspective not only on football but on life. For him to be able to come back and finish his career as a Panther is a great ending to a phenomenal career