Jennings went from receiver No. 1 to Public Enemy No. 1 in Green Bay, and it virtually happened overnight. Here’s a look back at how we got there.
Former Green Bay Packer Greg Jennings is among the best wide receivers to ever don the green and gold – you don’t have much ground to stand on if you argue otherwise.
Jennings ranks No. 5 all time in receiving touchdowns for the Packers, and has played in significantly fewer games than everyone ahead of him on the list. Only Don Hutson and Sterling Sharpe averaged more touchdowns-per-game than Jennings.
Jennings also ranks No. 7 all time in receptions and receiving yards with the Packers, and was pacing to be one of the most productive wide outs the organization had ever seen.
A fan favorite – Jennings seemingly embodied a small town, hardworking mentality. He played college ball at a mid-major university (Western Michigan), is the father of four, and acted humbled to be in the NFL. He always wore a big smile and had a knack for coming up with big, crunch-time catches.
Like this for example…
OK, last one…
Jennings also has an interesting insight, having been on the receiving end of passes from two surefire, first-ballot Hall of Fame quarterbacks in Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers.
Last month, Vice Sports featured Jennings their Ride Along series where he was asked to speak openly and candidly about the Favre vs. Rodgers on-field debate – only Jennings has been notably outspoken about his feelings and personal gripes with one quarterback in particular.
This video was the catalyst for me to re-examine the interesting separation the Packers and Jennings had:
Not shockingly, Jennings gave the nod to Rodgers (the NFL’s most efficient passer of all time according to Pro Football Reference).
“If I had to give a nod to one, I think I’ve always given the nod to Aaron simply because of his decision making,” Jennings said in the interview.
“When I look at Aaron, and you look at quarterbacks across the league and you compare Aaron to other quarterbacks, there’s nothing quarterback can do that he can’t do,” added Jennings. “But, when you compare quarterbacks to him, there are things that he does that others can’t do.”
He described Favre as the one who “jumpstarted” and called him a “gunslinger” with “no remorse” in a complimentary fashion.
Jennings has flip-flopped on the Favre vs. Rodgers question a few times, choosing Rodgers in a 2012 radio interview on “The Ian O’Connor Show,” but favoring Favre over Rodgers in an interview with Bob Sansavere of the St. Paul Pioneer Press in 2013.
But it’s what was discussed later in the interview that Packers fans are typically most interested in hearing – Jennings’ take, albeit a sugar-coated version, of his divorce from the Packers.
“When I made the comments that I made after leaving Green Bay, I know I said a lot in regards to Aaron and leadership and just different things, said Jennings. “And honestly, it just came from a place of feeling…I was hurt. I was hurt that [Rodgers] didn’t stand up and say, ‘You know, I want Greg back.’ I was hurt that they were even allowing me to leave. I wanted to be a Packer.
“Parts of me feel like I was naïve – it’s a business and I understand that. But when you are the one that is walking that road and you feel like you’ve given everything you have to an organization, and to your teammates and coaches, it’s like, ‘Really? Is this what I get for what I’ve done?’”
Understandable, when painted in this fashion, right? Well, the separation was far from amicable. Jennings took multiple opportunities and used multiple platforms to criticize Rodgers and the organization.
As Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com reported in 2013, Jennings said on KFAN radio in Minneapolis: “One of the things that drew me to coming over [to Minnesota] was the makeup of the team. When I came over here, I was kind of brainwashed. There’s no ‘kind of’ to it. Being over in Green Bay, you’re brainwashed to think anyone in the division is tiers below.
“It’s like everything that you know in Green Bay is like the best, the best, the best, the best, the best,” Jennings continued. “And it’s like total brainwashing. And I think you don’t open your eyes to see what other teams have to offer unless you are in that position, and I was afforded this position.”
After the 2012 season, Jennings (2006 second-round selection and two-time Pro Bowler) became an unrestricted free agent, and after the Packers didn’t express what he deemed legitimate interest in resigning him, he inked a five-year, $47.5 million deal with the Minnesota Vikings.
Jennings did later tell the Star Tribune that he could have “re-worded” his remarks as they related to the Packers and to the organization’s leadership.
But, he can’t take back things like this:
Or these comments about Rodgers the Vice Sports interview briefly alluded to:
“Don’t get me wrong, ‘12’ is a great person,” Jennings said to Dan Wiederer of the Star Tribune in the summer of 2013. “But when you hear all positives, all positives, all positives all the time, it’s hard for you to sit down when one of your teammates says ‘Man, come on, you’ve got to hold yourself accountable for this.’ It’s hard for someone to see that now because all they’ve heard is I’m doing it the right way, I’m perfect. In actuality, we all have flaws.”
Jennings was cut by the Vikings after two seasons. He spent the 2015 season with the Miami Dolphins, where he played in all 16 regular season games, but totaled just 19 receptions for 208 yards and one touchdown (all career lows). He’s currently 32 years old and has one year remaining on his 2-year, $8 million deal.
How much animosity Jennings harbors, if any at all anymore, is tough to determine. But I’m sure the saga will continue – good or bad – for the ‘should-be’ Packers Hall of Fame wide out.