Rick Reilly Sees Greg Jennings In A Different Light

While others in the media call Jennings "humble," Reilly recently insinuated that the Packers wide receiver just the opposite.

In the week leading up to the Super Bowl, Packers wide receiver Greg Jennings was described as "humble" almost simultaneously in articles by Paul Schwartz of the New York Post and Canadian columnist Steve Simmons.

When asked about some wide receivers in the NFL being considered prima donnas, Jennings replied, “I’m not that prima donna kind of receiver. I don’t have that personality. I’m very grateful that I don’t have that personality. It goes back to my parenting. I was never brought up to be egotistical or arrogant.

"No offense to guys who go out there and promote themselves. That’s what you have to do sometimes. Some of the guys do it just as a publicity stunt to get themselves out there which is a good strategic plan, but there are other ways to do it. I chose the humility role. This is not a front. It’s just who I am. I try to be who I am so people can understand what they’re getting themselves into.”

At the same time, Rick Reilly of ESPN called Jennings' perceived bluff.

In a blog post titled "Dumbest things said during Super Bowl XLV week," Reilly wrote:

Green Bay WR Greg Jennings, who went on to refer to himself in the third person and complain about how annoyingly early the interviews were and how suffocating his jersey was on Media Day: “I want to ... let people know who I am and what I’m all about and get a feel for Greg Jennings, not the football player, what I like to do. I’m trying to get myself out there so I can be in a movie this year."

From a pure football standpoint, Jennings had a standout season in 2010 with 76 catches for 1,265 yards and 12 touchdowns during the regular season.

It earned him his first Pro Bowl selection, even though none of those aforementioned statistics were career highs.

And this isn't to say Jennings has been flying under the radar. He received a contract extension in 2009 that paid him around $9 million per season, also making him one of the highest-paid receivers in the NFL. And his two-touchdown game in the Super Bowl only added to his legacy.

But to be elected to the Pro Bowl, and the name recognition that comes along with it, put him on the same pedestal of some of the game's larger-than-life personalities.

"If he has a huge ego, it isn't apparent," wrote Simmons. "If he is a diva, in the Terrell Owens-Randy Moss-Chad Ochocinco mold, then it isn't obvious."

Whether or not he's done it in the name of blatant self-promotion, Jennings has taken steps to place himself in pop culture's spotlight over the past year.

First there was an appearance on the television drama Criminal Minds. Following the Super Bowl, he was a guest on the late-night talk show Lopez Tonight.

And then there's Jennings' self-proclaimed desire to be in a movie.

"Hopefully, some director can cast him in the humility role," wrote Reilly.

With that, I'll allow our readers to draw their own conclusions.

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Comments (25)

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NickGBP's picture

February 13, 2011 at 02:15 pm

Wanting to be in a movie makes you a prima donna? He has aspirations of doing things outside of football. I'd call that intelligence.

Complaining he had to do early interviews? Without actually hearing what he said it's not fair to comment on it either way but it's hard to see how that proves Reilly's point. If he really was a media loving attention whore then he'd love every interview op he'd get.

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Anita's picture

February 13, 2011 at 02:22 pm

Reilly would know when it comes to saying "dumb" things, wouldn't he?

Jennings has the looks and personality for show business. Plus, he's educated and well spoken. When his football career is over, I wouldn't be surprised to see him on TV.

And it's about time he's receiving the attention he deserves. As far as ego and self-promotion, he's not even in the same class as Owens, Moss or Ocho.

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Nana's picture

February 13, 2011 at 02:23 pm

well Rick Reilly is stirring the pot with a wee bit of controversy, which will only help Jennings :) personally, i dont think he's anywhere close to being an NFL diva. There is nothing wrong with his desire to be in a movie, 99% of the population wants the same thing. Jennings just has a better shot at it because of his achievements on the football field. I hope he gets his wish.

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shoegal12's picture

February 13, 2011 at 02:26 pm

I fail to see this as a big deal. He wants to be in a movie. .so what? He used the 3rd person once, and the way he used it does not seem egotistical at all. I must admit, I thought it odd when he came out on Lopez Tonight with sunglasses on. DIdn't seem like him. But he did take them off and he came across as genuine in the interview.

I watched Sound FX and listened to TO and Chad Ochocinco and then listening to Jennings mic'd up is WAY opposite.

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Mark's picture

February 13, 2011 at 03:38 pm

It's not like JJ who speaks about himself in the 3rd person more than a few times

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jbovegas73's picture

February 13, 2011 at 02:35 pm

Jennings also says things in a joking manner during interviews ... with a dead serious look on his face. Then he'll laugh it off.

For instance: After the Falcons playoff game, he was asked about Rodgers' performance. He said, 'Aaron, you need to play better' (or something to that effect) then laughed. He does it all the time.

I admit, I'm a total Packer homer; BUT, if any of them start to turn into another Favre, Owens, or Ochocinco; you bet your booty I'll want them kicked to the curb (Nick Barnett).

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Oppy's picture

February 13, 2011 at 05:24 pm

Good to see you found CHTV, Jbovegas73, it's like the promised land compared to that miserable troll-infested message board where we've crossed paths before. :)

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PackersRS's picture

February 13, 2011 at 02:54 pm

If a WR doesn't want the spotlight, he's not a WR. That simple.

It's different wanting the spotlight, and being a primadonna.

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foundinidaho's picture

February 13, 2011 at 05:07 pm

Greg wants some spotlight? Really, damn, I thought all football players were humble men who didn't want any attention. ;)

Seriously, Reilly needs to get a life. By all accounts, the most Greg's guilty of is wanting a little attention. Big deal.

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NoWayJose's picture

February 13, 2011 at 06:24 pm

Reilly is insufferable.

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PkrNboro's picture

February 13, 2011 at 07:02 pm

the Pam Oliver interview/speech/sermon-thing was a tad weird -- but, hey, he makes millions.

look what the money's done to Nagler and Carriveau

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thepretzelhead in Japan's picture

February 13, 2011 at 07:34 pm

ThePretzelHead likes Greg Jennings.

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MarkinMadison's picture

February 13, 2011 at 08:11 pm

I'm not buying it from Reilly. Now if Wilde or another respectable Packer beat reporter (who knows how these guys are day and day out) said something similar I might think twice. But what Reilly's got amounts to a big yawn in my book. In any case, like so many wrote above: wide receiver; NFL = entertainment business; plus the man was just in, and won, a Super Bowl. Cut him a little slack.

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jdondlinger's picture

February 13, 2011 at 09:05 pm

Rick Reilly is a turd. Has been for years.

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Keith's picture

February 13, 2011 at 10:23 pm

Let me preface this by saying that I have never been a Rick Reilly fan, going back to his SI days.

Anyway, to start, any athlete as good and as successful as Greg Jennings needs to possess a certain level of confidence and a certain level of bravado. Otherwise, he would never have achieved the level of success he has achieved. Heck, look at Donald Driver, one of the more workmanlike and respectable players in the league - even he has his little shimmy when he gets a first down.

That being said, to insinuate Jennings is anything but humble is absurd. You can go find the video of him on the NFL Network postgame show after the Super Bowl where he refers to Donald Driver as the team's #1 WR. I'm sure Reilly would call that "false humility" but it sure didn't seem that way to me watching him speak while bouncing his two daughters on his lap.

There's nothing wrong with an athlete having interests off the field. It's quite natural for an athlete to gravitate towards the entertainment field. I remember Jason Sehorn did this while he played with the Giants and there are countless athletes who have gone on to star in movies or make cameos in TV shows (Detlef Schrempf on Parks & Rec!) This really isn't that unusual.

Now I don't know Greg Jennings, so I could be totally wrong, but he just doesn't seem to be the same kind of personality as TO, Ochocinco, or Moss.

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brinelsny's picture

February 14, 2011 at 12:20 am

Reily lost me for the way he vilified Barry Bonds (and other PED users) but kisses the ground Lance Armstrong walks on. I think what he really dislikes is Jennings' God-talk.

Greg Jennings to me seems like a decent, humble guy for being a successful, professional athlete, but I'm also a biased fan.

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ay hombre's picture

February 14, 2011 at 01:50 am

What a crock! Suck an egg, Reilly.

Greg Jennings is ALWAYS the first guy to congratulate WHOEVER it is that scores a TD for the Packers. This guy is not selfish in any way and encompasses what you want in a locker room personality.

Reilly...like Peter King, is just upset that he is becoming more and more irrelevant with every passing day.

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DBH's picture

February 14, 2011 at 08:20 am

IMO, Jennings does have the type of personality that *could* turn into the TO garb if he were to do/say whatever he wants. However, I can tel from his interviews that he tries to be humble, and he makes a huge effort to put the team first - which I can only imagine would be difficult to do, considering how freaking amazing he is at WR. So, my perception is that he works to keep himself humble, and I'm grateful to have that kind of player and person on the Packers roster.

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WisconInExile's picture

February 14, 2011 at 08:40 am

Ditto the above. The mark of a diva can't be missed. Every Interview centers around "I'm the greatest." Either it's you asking me about just how great I am, or how other people (teammates, coaches, GM, owner, fans, etc.) don't seem to realize this fact and indulge me accordingly.

Jennings? Uh, no. Finley, has had his moments, and Barnett hasn't endeared himself as of late, but this team is remarkable for guys keeping their nose to the grindstone.

And, fwiw, Jennings has some potential. He did a good job on air in the "keys to the game" package he did on NFC Championship weekend.

"There's no 'diva' in 'team'"

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Bill's picture

February 14, 2011 at 09:51 am

Everyone move along. There is nothing here.

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Ken at UWM's picture

February 14, 2011 at 10:07 am

Rick Reilly did say that 1 in every 1,900 Green Bay residents is a Packer fan. So there you go.

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Mr. Bacon's picture

February 14, 2011 at 12:58 pm

I think if you look at it. Greg Jennings has some quality of a Owens-Johnson persona. Watching the Superbowl review on NFL.com, Jennings was speaking to the coach, I think Robinson saying talking about how he wasn't being covered on a certain route by Troy P.

However the overall difference is that Greg Jennings is that he is the type of outspoken wide receiver, that is a positive influence. He doesn't go after his quarterback, he helps Rodgers identify weakness in the coverage he is throwing because Rodgers isn't running the routes. So I guess its one of those 4 square things.

Outspoken - Team Cancer. (Philli-Dallas Owens)
Outspoken - Team Leader. (Jennings)
Quiet - Team Leader. (Driver)
Quiet - Team Cancer. (Maybe Boldin in the final year with the Cardinals?)

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BigbyATTACK's picture

February 14, 2011 at 04:52 pm

Just modern day, reality t.v. infatuated, can't get enough gossip America at its finest. Especially Reilly. I mean, Adam Schefter had an article at ESPN about how the Packers and Bears "lucked" their way into the NFC Championship. Another ESPN writer had an article Super Bowl week about how selfish Rodgers is for not saying who makes his new helmet. The team legally can't, but he wrote a long piece about how Rodgers and the Packers are selfish for not helping prevent concussions in the youth of America, saying they're hiding the information. It's all baloney. I get my news from CHEESEHEAD TV. :)

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bomdad's picture

February 14, 2011 at 08:05 pm

He's not egotistical or arrogant, he's gregarious.

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dgtalmn's picture

February 15, 2011 at 10:47 am

Reilly=Florio=Bad Journalism

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