Former Green Bay Packers wide receiver Greg Jennings apologized yesterday for his recent string of comments about Aaron Rodgers and the Packers.
It’s about time, because he gone so far as to suggest earlier this week that Rodgers was bigger than the team and was not accountable for his mistakes.
That’s a pretty serious indictment.
Jennings’ strangely negative departure conjures vague reminders of another departed Packer, back before the 2008 season. Is that what Jennings wants? To be the next guy Packers fans love to hate?
The apology Jennings gave via reporters yesterday went like this: “Aaron’s a phenomenal quarterback,” Jennings said, as quoted by the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. “He knows that. No one needs to tell him that. What he’s done over the course of the last five years? Phenomenal. He set the bar high for quarterbacks in this league. He set the bar high for offenses in this league. Everything I say is all out of fun. I’m just saying something just to say it. They know that’s not me.”
Thanks, Greg. And that certainly sounds sincere enough. But earlier in the week he was not so complimentary, and it has made Packers Nation wonder who the real Jennings is.
Take this quote, for example, which was directed at Rodgers: “A lot of times when you have a guy who creates that spotlight for himself and establishes that and takes a lot of that, it becomes so-and-so and the team.”
Wait – was he referring to Rodgers or that other guy, who wore No. 4?
And this: “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.”
The fact is, Jennings knows Rodgers well, and we all know Rodgers has the reputation for being sensitive to such criticism. Jennings is right on that count: Just like the rest of us, Rodgers has flaws.
It is his intimate knowledge of this that makes me think, apology or no, that there really is some sort of resentment or bad blood brewing there. His ongoing barbs, in which he referred to Rodgers repeatedly as “12″ and “that guy they’ve got now” finally led Minnesota Viking coach Leslie Frazier to tell Jennings enough was enough. Time to stop focusing on the Packers.
And yet, Jennings wouldn’t shut up. At one point he offered this half-hearted statement: “I don’t really recall saying anything negative about Aaron or anybody over there,” he said. “But hey, I apologize.”
I feel a tear forming.
Maybe it’s just me, but if my coach tells me to stop talking about my former team and start focusing on my current team, that’s the last word you’re going to hear me speak of that former team until the week leading up to Oct. 27, when the teams in question meet on the playing field.
And getting back to the chip on Rodgers’ shoulder: Jennings knows situations like this, when Rodgers is doubted, only provides Rodgers more motivation. How smart can he be to stir that cauldron? It just sounds to me like Jennings has something stuck in his craw regarding his departure from Green Bay, and is passive-aggressively “joking” about it to the media to make a point.
So, am I the only one picking up on the irony of the timing? The Packers are publicly beginning the kiss-and-make-up process with the aforementioned No. 4, former Packers signal-caller and future Hall-of-Famer Brett Favre. It’s as if an unsavory torch is being handed off right before our eyes.
Oh well. Favre had to come back into the Packers’ good graces at some point – and vice versa. I just didn’t realize someone would so readily step up to take his place as the former Packer that Packers fans love to hate.