Greg Jennings, who retired Monday after 10 NFL seasons, dropped by CBS Sports Radio on Wednesday to discuss numerous topics, including his former quarterbacks.
He didn’t hold back, either.
Jennings, who spent the majority of his career in Green Bay, played his final season with Ryan Tannehill in Miami. He thinks Tannehill has talent, but he’s not sure whether the 28-year-old Texas A&M product will ever get the most out of it.
“I think that we will see,” Jennings said on Tiki and Tierney. “I don’t know. I believe that he has what it takes, but because his hands have been tied – because he hasn’t been able to really showcase who he is as a player because of the system or whatever the case may have been – this is his opportunity to take more of a responsibility and a role of, ‘I got this, guys. You can trust me. Coach, you can trust me. Give me more freedom so I can really show my teammates, and even myself, who I can be in this league.’ Because quite honestly, right now he thinks it, but it’s never happened, so no one knows.”
Tannehill threw for a career-high 4,208 yards this past season to go along with 24 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. He hasn’t missed a game in his four-year career but has never finished better than 8-8.
“He has the mindset of a guy who definitely wants to be great,” Jennings said. “I had the luxury of being in huddle with Brett (Favre), had the luxury of being in the huddle with Aaron (Rodgers). There’s a huge difference. There’s just a huge difference. It’s more of that ‘it’ factor. . . . I didn’t experience that in the huddle. Does he have confidence? Absolutely, 100 percent. But does it come off as almost forced, like, ‘I want to be able to do this?’ In my opinion, yes. Now, again, I think a lot of that had to deal with the fact that he wasn’t really able to be who he wanted to be. He was kind of forced to be this robot in this system. That was evident. That was felt. That was the vibe that you got when you were in the huddle, like, ‘Okay, we’re going to make this work.’ It’s just different. It’s a huge difference when you step into the huddle and a quarterback carries that presence of, ‘Look, it does not matter what the play is. I’m going to make it work.’”
Jennings also addressed his 2013 beef with Rodgers. After signing with Minnesota that March, Jennings took a few shots at No. 12, saying that Rodgers created a spotlight for himself, sometimes struggled with taking accountability for things, and, in essence, thought he walked on water.
Three years later, Jennings said those comments are behind him.
“Honestly, there is no beef,” he said. “I don’t think there’s anyone in this world – and this is from my perspective – that I have beef with, that I have issues with. That’s just not who I am. The things that I said, they were said out of frustration. As the franchise guy, you’re my guy. I was balling when Brett was there. You walked into this. Come on, you got to say something. You have their ear. And I felt like that didn’t take place. I said things that I wish now that I would have worded differently or I would have conveyed differently. But there is no beef. I have no beef. Look, my wife will tell you I’m not a confrontational guy.”
Donald Driver, it is worth noting, sided with Jennings at the time and even questioned Rodgers’ leadership.
“Look, I was in the locker room with him for seven years and you learn a lot about a guy,” Jennings said of Rodgers. “I’m not saying what I said was not true. I’m not saying that at all. What I’m saying is I should have worded it differently. I probably should have never said it, but I did. I’m not an Isiah Thomas guy where I can’t say I apologize. So I do. I’m very apologetic for it. I’ve told him that because it was done out of the wrong posture. But it is what it is. He’s a great, phenomenal player, but there’s some things that he has that I don’t agree with. That’s just me. That’s my opinion. I still love the guy. Without a shadow of a doubt, I would do what he needed right now if he called me. If he shot me a text, anything, I would do it – because that’s just who I am and that’s the relationship we have. But that doesn’t mean I can’t be honest. I’m not a friend if I’m lying to you. I think from a fan perspective, everybody looks at it like (I’m talking trash). No, don’t lie to your friends. Tell them what they don’t want to hear. Tell them what the next person isn’t saying. That’s just the reality.”
Jennings also addressed concussions, domestic violence and player safety in the NFL and whether the league could be headed toward choppy waters in the next five or 10 years.
“I think it’s okay,” Jennings said of his prognosis for the league. “I think it’s just okay right now. In the next couple years, I think we’ll get a greater description of where it really is headed, of how far they’re taking it. But in my opinion, the league, they’re just covering themselves. As a player in this league, you see that if you understand business. Don’t get me wrong: As a businessman, I get it. You have to protect your brand. You have to protect what you’ve created, what you’ve built. But at some point, there has to be a certain level of respect that you have for those who are within what you’ve created. So you have to honor them as well. This league thrives off of the players. It doesn’t thrive off of upper management, coaching – that’s not why this league is what it is. It’s because of what takes place on that football field. When you start messing with what, don’t get me wrong: Concussions is real. It is a reality. But history has shown there is nothing that can prevent that. Right now, there is nothing that can prevent it. So you can put all these rules in place, these different ways of going about playing the game. But at the end of the day, you are not going to prevent someone’s head from being hit and a concussion from being incurred. It just can’t happen. It can’t happen as long as you’re making contact with another human being like that.”