Why a Greg Jennings reunion wouldn't work


GREEN BAY, Wis. -- In some ways, the NFL is a forgive-and-forget business. Players, coaches and league executives get second and third chances all the time, which made it understandable that there was a hankering among some fans for the Green Bay Packers to bring back Greg Jennings.

The former Packers receiver was cut by the Minnesota Vikings over the weekend after just two years in purple.

Here's why a reunion wouldn't work:

It's not that Jennings left the Packers for more money -- although he ended up with only $18 million over two years with the Vikings and not the $45 million he would have received over the full five years of the deal -- it was what happened after he left that would make a reconciliation with the Packers difficult, if not impossible.

In the summer after he signed with the Vikings, Jennings did a series of interviews with Minneapolis media outlets in which he painted a negative picture of the Packers and, more specifically, of quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

In a radio interview, he said he was "brainwashed" when he played for the Packers when it came to how other teams in the NFC North were supposed to be perceived.

"Being over in Green Bay, you're brainwashed to think anyone in the division is tiers below," Jennings said on KFAN radio. "It's like everything that you know in Green Bay is like the best, the best, the best, the best, the best." 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."

That followed a story in the Minneapolis Star Tribune in which Jennings spoke critically of Rodgers' leadership style, saying: "Don't get me wrong, '12' 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' half-hearted apology didn't sit well with Rodgers, who responded by saying he was confident in his leadership style.

And then there was the bizarre Twitter rant by Jennings' sister during a game in the 2012 season in which she was critical of Rodgers for not throwing the ball to her brother.

People can change. Former Packers running back Ahman Green was as difficult a player for the media to deal with during his first stint with the Packers, but was pleasant as could be when he returned to finish his career in Green Bay after a failed stint with the Houston Texans.

That brings us back to the possibility of a reunion with Jennings. The Packers' offense might have been at its best in 2011, when it had Jennings, Jordy Nelson, James Jones, Donald Driver, Randall Cobb, and Jermichael Finley catching passes.

Last season, the passing game was mostly Cobb and Nelson with a little Davante Adams, Andrew Quarless, and Richard Rodgers sprinkled in. But that offense had chemistry and continuity. It led the NFL in scoring, which led coach Mike McCarthy to say after the season that "I've never had an offense this good."

It didn't need Jennings to qualify as such last year.

McCarthy laughed off Jennings' comments in the summer of 2013, saying "You know, when you put on that purple, something happens to you," but he and general manager Ted Thompson are as mindful as anyone about the culture in their locker room. Putting Jennings back into it would probably do more to disturb that than foster it.