On February 6, 2011, the love affair between Greg Jennings and Green Bay Packers fans had never been better. He had just caught two touchdown passes in Super Bowl XLV to help Green Bay to its 13th world championship.
Two years or so later, the feelings between them could never have been worse, after Jennings’ painful departure from Green Bay and his move to the co-rival Minnesota Vikings.
“I never wanted to leave,” Jennings told ESPN Wisconsin’s “Wilde And Tausch” on Wednesday.
“It almost annoys me when people say it because it’s like they don’t really understand the business. Then, it’s like, ‘You went for the money.’ I didn’t go for the money. I went for the best situation for me and my family. The money happened to be far better.”
Jennings tells Jason Wilde and Mark Tauscher that during his final year in Green Bay, his “contract” year of 2012, he and Green Bay did not talk about a contract extension, despite what he said was his desire to stay with the Packers.
“Never. Never. We never even discussed it,” Jennings said.
“I was a very upfront individual. I went. I didn’t have my agent just reach out. I went into Mike McCarthy’s office and into Ted Thompson’s office and sat down face to face and told them both, specifically Ted, ‘Look, I’m going to throw all my cards out on the table. I’m not going to play this chess game and try to hid cards,’ and told them ‘I want to be here, period…whatever we need to do to get it done, I want to be here.’ That was my approach to my contract here. There was no ‘I want to test the market.’ There was no acting…I let it be known I want to be here.”
A muscle injury played a part in Jennings only being able to play five games in 2012, a year where his per-game yardage and touchdown totals paled in comparison to his productivity in the 2010 Super Bowl season.
That said, Jennings blames himself for the antagonistic way he reacted to the Packers choosing not to offer him the type of contract that Minnesota did in 2013, and for how a sour taste came into Packers fans’ mouths for years in the process.
“I wasn’t strong enough to just let it go. I wish I had let it go,” he admits.
“It got me nowhere. I didn’t feel any better because of it. Sometimes when you have an argument, you want to get the last word. You might say something that goes just over the line, and in that moment, you think you’ve said something like, ‘Yeah, I got the last word, now what?’ But momentarily after that came out of your mouth…you immediately wish you could retract that statement and repair what you just destroyed…or kind of torn. That was me. I felt like I was kind of just thrown away and just disregarded, and because of that, ‘No, I’m going to show them. I’m going to tell them.’ I wish I hadn’t done that.”