Wide receiver Greg Jennings says he left the Green Bay Packers to prove his NFL success hasn’t been based on playing with future Hall of Fame quarterbacks in Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers.
“I was kind of that comfort blanket so to speak,” Jennings told Dan Wiederer of the Minneapolis Star Tribune. “But this is a quarterback-driven league, so people forget about the guys around the quarterback.”
Jennings signed with the Minnesota Vikings in the offseason and is now catching passes from Christian Ponder.
“Maybe,” he said, “I need to go back to my college days where the quarterback wasn’t just viewed as oh-so-great and still prove that I can be successful.”
Jennings felt like there was too much of a lovefest for Rodgers in Green Bay, and it started getting to the quarterbacks head.
“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,” he said. “It should always be the team.”
Wiederer asked him to clarify those comments.
“For me, I’m such a team person, I’m going to defer to my teammates,” he said. “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’ 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.”
Now in Minnesota, Jennings feels like a good supporting cast for Ponder is all the quarterback ever needed.
“I’m not saying that if I had wrote a script, this would hands down be the ideal position for me to be in,” Jennings said. “I don’t know. Only God knows that. But for me, it’s a challenge. It’s a change of gear to where now I don’t have that [established] quarterback. That’s what everybody is saying. But in my mind, I don’t need that quarterback for us to be successful.
“It’s not about me. It’s not about just Christian. It’s about us.”
Update: Packers coach Mike McCarthy responds to Jennings comments on Rodgers.
“You know, when you put on that purple, something happens to you,” McCarthy said Thursday, drawing laughs.
McCarthy said Rodgers is “very committed, very in tune with what’s in the best interests of the football team. I’m very proud of him, just the way that he has taken that responsibility, and feel that it will be greater than ever going into this season.”