(CBS) It’s been a rough year for the highest-paid player on the Bears.

Julius Peppers, who will turn 34 at this season’s end, has struggled mightily through the team’s first six games –  registering a combined eight tackles and one sack. He hasn’t appeared on the stat sheet for two straight games.

“Listen, we all have a job to do,’’ Peppers told the Sun-Times on Monday. “We all get paid to do our job. And when you’re not doing it, you’ve got to be held accountable. Everybody has a right to their own opinion about my play, about the defensive line’s play.

“But to have a real understanding of what’s going on, you have to be in the room or on the field and be a part of it to really get a grasp of it. I don’t get irritated or mad about it. . . . I just concentrate on what I can control, and that’s my play.’’

Admittedly, the defensive line around Peppers, who is currently playing under  a six-year, $84 million contract that runs through the 2015 season, has been hampered by injuries all season, losing both Henry Melton and Nate Collins to torn ACLs.

“We have guys down” he said. “We have injuries. We have a lot of guys in the rotation that are not normally in the game. We haven’t had a lot of chemistry with the group that’s on the field.

But Peppers isn’t blaming his poor play solely on the team’s lack of chemistry on the defensive line.

“With all that being said, that’s an excuse,” he said. “We’re playing with the guys we have. We’re going to do the best we can with those guys, and we’re just going to have to find a way to make it work.’’

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