Wednesday, October 23, 2013
Don't misread Rodgers' focus
By Rob Demovsky
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Whether or not you believe Minnesota Vikings receiver Greg Jennings when he said Wednesday that he was just "messing around" this offseason when he criticized the Green Bay Packers and his former quarterback, don't think Aaron Rodgers has forgotten about it.
Rodgers, as we've known since he slipped to the 24th overall pick in the first round of the 2005 NFL draft, never forgets.
That wasn't the first chip on his shoulder nor was it the last.
So it would be wrong to mistake Rodgers' regurgitation Wednesday of the same response he has used several times when asked about Jennings -- the one in which he says he's focused on the players still in the locker room -- as a sign that it has been wiped clean from his memory.
"I didn't say anything about forgetting," Rodgers said.
The response drew a few laughs from those assembled at his locker.
But not from Rodgers.
"I just said focusing," he continued.
What Rodgers did say about the whole Jennings situation was this: "You know, anything that's said by individuals or pundits out there who aren't in this locker room, I think I can speak for the guys, they don't really factor into our day-to-day lives, and we don't spend energy thinking about those comments. We try and stay focused on the guys in this locker room, on this team, and what we have to do to get this team ready to play."
For his part, Jennings attempted to try to smooth over things with his former teammates during a conference call Wednesday with reporters at Lambeau Field, although he said he never reached out to Rodgers to clarify his comments.
"I have the utmost respect for that organization," Jennings said. "I had my most successful years there and I still have relations with some of the guys over there and still have the respect that I had when I was playing there with them. Even when I'm not right now I still have respect for them."
Still, he said a few curious things about his tenure in Green Bay and his former teammates. Although he said he wasn't bothered by the fact that Rodgers never publicly lobbied for the Packers to re-sign him -- as Rodgers did with receiver James Jones in 2011 and has done with other key players -- Jennings' answer when asked whether that bothered him was tepid, at best.
"It is what it is," Jennings said. "It is what it is. No. We went to bat for James. I'd [go] to bat for anyone in that locker room. But like I said, it is what it is."
And like Rodgers said, he didn't say anything about forgetting.