Greg Jennings enjoyed quite the career in the NFL as a Pro Bowl wide receiver with the Green Bay Packers, Minnesota Vikings and Miami Dolphins. The Super Bowl winner who caught more than 500 passes in the league is now calling games each weekend for FOX, in between competing as a professional body builder. Having played with two of the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history in Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers, Jennings has some great stories to tell.
What was it like when you heard your name called by the Green Bay Packers in the 2006 NFL Draft?
Oh Neil… do you want the truth or something I can make up? The day before the draft I get a call from the 920 area code and it's somebody from Green Bay just making sure this was going to be my working phone. That's the protocol across the board for teams who are potentially going to draft a guy. So I got a lot of calls from a lot of different teams. I remember that 920 area code and on the morning of the draft, myself and Jerome Harrison, a high school teammate of mine who ended up going to the Cleveland Browns, sat down to breakfast and he asked me, 'Where is it you just don't want to go?' I was like, 'Green Bay! I don't want to go to Green Bay.' I lived in Michigan my whole life and then I had been training down in Florida and I had grown so comfortable with the weather, so I just wanted to go somewhere warm. I did not want to go to Green Bay. I hated the colours, I didn't like Brett Favre because I was a Michigan boy and he ruined Thanksgivings for me. All of it played a part. I was sitting with my family and I see the tickers going by and I see the Green Bay Packers have the 37th pick in the second round. I got a call from my agent and he told me that he felt the Denver Broncos were going to take me there. They ended up trading for Packers wide receiver Javon Walker and I didn't go. I looked at the ticker again and the Packers had the 50th pick and now they were down a receiver. But they ended up taking guard Daryn Colledge and I was thinking, 'I have escaped and I'm away from the Packers.' Then I saw they had the 52nd pick and, in that moment, I just knew I was going to end up in Green Bay. Sure enough, my phone rings before the 52nd pick and my thought process was everything I said about not wanting to land in Green Bay. The moment my phone rings, they said: 'Greg, we're going to take you here with the 52nd pick. Do you want to be a Packer?' And I was like, 'Absolutely! I can't wait. I've been waiting for this moment all of my life – I've always wanted to be a Packer!'
What was it like to play with legendary quarterback Brett Favre?
As a player, you couldn't ask for a better teammate and a better performer under pressure. And also a better leader who could put you at ease – you knew you were in good hands with Brett. We would ride with him no matter what. There were highs and lows but, on his highs, you went on such a ride that you would just forget a low might come. He just didn't care about the play before – he was on to the next one. When you think about it, that's how Brett lived his life. He pranked everyone and there was nothing you could do because it was Brett. You really weren't going to get him back – very few guys were going to prank Brett. And he was the greatest storyteller I have ever been around. He just had a way of capturing you and bringing that moment to life. He would draw you in and make you feel like you were a part of whatever story he was telling.
After Favre, you played with Aaron Rodgers and you won a Super Bowl together with you catching two scoring passes against Pittsburgh at the end of the 2010 season. What was that like?
There was a level of trust that I developed with Aaron and that is important. When a quarterback is forced out of the pocket, they can't panic so they can't see panic in you. You need a calmness and an assurance that you're going to get open in a second. Winning the Super Bowl was surreal – you dream about playing in a game like that and you want to have an impact and leave a lasting impression because of the plays they made to help their team become victorious. That was my experience. It was so surreal. The night before, I was lying in my bed and envisioning myself scoring touchdowns or even just one touchdown. I would have been content with one. To get two and to trump that, I made the biggest play in the game on third and 10, converting to keep our momentum going. That trumped either one of my touchdown catches from that game. To be a part of that game was one thing but to actually be an impact player in that game, that was special. That's something my kids have watched. My son wasn't even born and he has seen it. And I got to hold my older two daughters and share that moment with them under the confetti – it was everything you would hope for when you dream about it. Actually, it was even more.
To hear Neil's full interview with Greg Jennings, check out the latest episode of The Neil Reynolds Podcast. Available wherever you get your podcasts.