Green Bay Packers head coach Mike McCarthy touched on any number of topics during his training camp opening press conference on Thursday, but among his more pointed observations were thoughts on a former member of the green and gold.
In reference to wide receiver Greg Jennings, who signed a five-year contract with the division rival Minnesota Vikings this offseason, McCarthy said in good humor, “When you put on that purple, something happens to you.”
McCarthy’s comments are in reference to several not-so-subtle jabs at quarterback Aaron Rodgers and the Packers organization Jennings made to the media the past several weeks.
In a recent interview published by Minnesota’s Star Tribune, Jennings described the environment as “cookie-cutter” in Green Bay and compared it to the Vikings organization saying, “Here, no one’s walking on egg shells.”
Jennings took the time to describe the differences between Minnesota and Green Bay, but was rather vague in what he meant by his “cookie-cutter” remark.
When asked about Rodgers this offseason, Jennings has at times refused to call him by name, instead calling him “12″ or “the guy they have now.”
Jennings’ comments can be viewed through the lens as a response to Rodgers’ own joking reference of Jennings as “Who?” when asked a question about the departed wide receiver at an offseason function.
The difference between Jennings and Rodgers, however, is that Rodgers’ jab occurred one time, while Jennings’ refused to call Rodgers by name interview after interview.
Jennings elaborated on his relationship with Rodgers in the Star Tribune article:
“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.”
Asked in a later conversation to clarify those sentiments, Jennings expanded.
“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.”
Jennings paused and looked around.
“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.”
McCarthy added during his press conference that he didn’t put much stock into Jennings’ comments.
If there’s anything that can be guaranteed to come out of this most recent exchange, it’s that the Packers-Vikings rivalry continues to become even more heated.
With linebacker Desmond Bishop also signing with Minnesota this offseason, the familiarity between the two teams has only grown.
The Packers play at the Vikings on Sunday Oct. 27 in a nationally televised night game on NBC before a home date back in Green Bay on Sunday Nov. 24.