GREEN BAY, Wis. — It had been 16 days since Packers Pro Bowl wide receiver Greg Jennings had been able to practice due to a concussion. But on Sunday morning, after battling for more than two weeks with headaches and general pressure throughout his head, Jennings was back.
But for Jennings, who described this concussion as “the most difficult one to get over” of any that he has had in his career, it was not an easy road back.
“I make it sound like it was minor, but it really wasn’t, honestly,” Jennings said at his locker after practice.
Jennings left early from Green Bay’s family night scrimmage Aug. 3 with the diagnosed concussion, but he believes that it initially happened two days before that.
“I hit my head on the ground, split my nose open,” Jennings said of what happened in the scrimmage. “It probably was a little bit before that, on Wednesday. I started feeling headaches Wednesday. I got hit Wednesday, practiced, finished practice. Next day, headaches, again practiced, didn’t think anything of it. Then Friday, family night, probably reaggravated it or whatever.”
Jennings is one of four Packers players to have suffered concussions so far during training camp, but his kept him out far longer than the other three.
“I’ve been shut down completely for two weeks,” Jennings said. “When I say shut down completely, they wouldn’t let me walk in the weight room, they wouldn’t let me see a treadmill. As easy as it sounds, being honest, it’s tough when it comes to a situation like that because you want to get back out there, but you don’t want to put yourself in harm’s way.
“It was tough coming in here some days, feeling whatever I was feeling and wanting to say, ‘You know what? I’m good,’ but knowing in the back of my mind that I really wasn’t. We fought through that for almost two weeks and here I am.”
With an emphasis on concussions and safety regarding head injuries going on throughout the NFL and in the new collective bargaining agreement, the length of time that Jennings was out is somewhat alarming.
Most of the days while Jennings was out were spent at home in an attempt to assist in his recovery by staying away from loud noises and light.
“I spent more than some of the days at home,” Jennings said. “Obviously for concussions there’s several different ways they try to treat it. One of the ways is just completely shut you down, get you away from over-stimulating the mind and the brain.”
The only issue with that strategy is that Jennings’ household isn’t always a quiet place with a wife and three children.
“It’s tough being as active as I am with my girls to completely withdraw, but you have to take it easy,” Jennings said. “Obviously I wanted to get back out here so I wanted to do the smart thing. Being a dad is first and foremost. My health is first and foremost as well, so doing the things I needed to do to get back healthy so that I could be the dad that they were accustomed to seeing and being around.”
For coach Mike McCarthy, the length of time that Jennings missed with the concussion hasn’t made him wary about his star receiver’s status going forward.
“Just talking with Greg and the medical staff, obviously the high side of caution is where you go to in these types of situations,” McCarthy said. “He feels very good about where he is and the time that was spent to get him to this point. So I do not have any concerns.”
As the media disbanded from near Jennings’ locker, he vowed that this was his last concussion. Considering that Jennings has 4,619 receiving yards and 34 touchdowns the past four seasons, quarterback Aaron Rodgers and the rest of the offense certainly hope that he is right.