GREEN BAY, Wis. — Coach Mike McCarthy has heard the comments of former Green Bay Packers wide receiver Greg Jennings. With Jennings continually taking jabs at the team that he played seven years for, McCarthy had a comeback ready for the seemingly scorned 29-year-old who signed this offseason with the division-rival Minnesota Vikings.
“When you put on that purple, something happens to you,” McCarthy said Thursday at his pre-training camp press conference. “I don’t know. Greg was a great player for us, we had a lot of great moments, and he was fun to coach. I don’t put a whole lot into that.”
While McCarthy’s rebuttal was a bit light-hearted, Jennings’ recent shots at the Packers have been anything but.
In multiple interviews since signing with the Vikings in March, Jennings has called out the Packers on several fronts. Jennings described the environment surrounding the Green Bay franchise as “cookie-cutter,” comparing it to Minnesota where “no one’s walking on eggshells.”
Jennings elaborated on what he meant in an interview with the Minneapolis Star Tribune.
“It’s not a free-for-all. There’s structure,” Jennings told the Star Tribune. “But there’s liberty. You can breathe. It’s like, ‘OK, I can do my thing.’ You know what you need to do, you get it done. Whereas (in Green Bay), everything was more cookie-cutter. … It’s just different (in Minnesota). In a good way. And not knocking what we did there. Because obviously it was successful. But here, no one’s walking on eggshells.”
Jennings has also had a few less-than-friendly comments about Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, never referring to him by name. In Jennings’ interview with the Star Tribune, he painted a negative picture of Rodgers in a way that no other current player has.
“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,” Jennings told the paper. “It should always be the team.”
Jennings added further to that.
“For me, I’m such a team person, I’m going to defer to my teammates,” Jennings said in that interview. “I’m going to defer to the team, to the team, to the team. And I think when you reach a point where you’re not deferring any longer, it’s no longer really about the team.
“Don’t get me wrong, ’12’ (Rodgers) is a great person. 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, who was once one of the most popular players in Green Bay, could be in for an interesting homecoming when the Vikings travel to Lambeau Field in Week 12 this season.
Rodgers will likely address the media at the start of training camp Friday. With the exception of Rodgers jokingly saying “Who?” when asked about Jennings earlier this offseason, the former NFL Most Valuable Player has not responded to any of Jennings’ other statements.