The Green Bay Packers and wide receiver Greg Jennings announced a three-year contract extension on Wednesday, making Jennings one of the highest paid wideouts in the game. Let’s see how he got there….
The year was 2006 and the Green Bay Packers just completed their first day of rookie camps. First year Packers head coach Mike McCarthy was asked how the Pack’s latter second-round selection fared in the team’s camp.
McCarthy simply replied, “Oh, we didn’t miss on that one”. The rest was history.
Coming out of college, Jennings entered the draft after breaking just about every receiving record for the Western Michigan Broncos. He was projected as a second-to-third round pick behind the likes of Santonio Holmes, Chad Jackson, Derek Hagan, and Sinorice Moss.
His great route running and even better hands made him a perfect fit for the Packers’ west coast offense. The two knocks on Jennings going into the draft were his lack of size—just 5-foot-11—and his speed—4.42 40-yard dash at the combine.
Fast forward three years and you’ll find a guy that has as much game speed and quickness as anyone in the league. Depsite his height, Jennings is also a guy that can go up for a jumpball with the best cornerbacks in the league.
Like McCarthy said on that first day of camp, Jennings was everything but a miss. In his first season, he caught 45 balls for 632 yards and three touchdowns. He caught Brett Favre’s 400th touchdown and was named to the AP’s All-Rookie Team that year.
Over the next two years, Jennings amassed 133 catches, 2302 yards, and 21 touchdowns as one of the most productive receivers in the league.
Maybe even more important than all Jennings has done on the field; his actions off the field. In a world full of Chad Johnson’s, TO’s, and wide receivers that care more about the box score than the standings, Jennings is truly a breath of fresh air.
Not once has he called out a quarterback, demanded the ball, or showboat after scoring.
On the contrary, the first thing Jennings does after a score is find his wide receiver counterparts and celebrate with them.
During interviews, Jennings sports a huge smile and talks about how exciting it is to play with Rodgers, get better, and watch his teammates improve. He is everything that you could ask for in a wide receiver.
It’s only a matter of time before veteran Donald Driver hangs his cleats up and passes the wide receiver torch to Jennings, but with the way he holds himself there should not be much of a drop off. It is very easy to see the effect that Driver has had on Jennings.
In that same sense, Jennings will now focus his attention on breeding young receivers like Jordy Nelson and James Jones, making sure they play to their full potential and do it the right way.
With Rodgers and Jennings, the Packers have potentially one of the best scoring tandems in team history in four years.
Jennings reminds me a lot of Larry Fitzgerald, who doesn’t have the size of a Terrell Owens or the speed of a Chad Johnson. Still, he puts in his time week in and week out, works his tail off, and has fun playing the game.
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