Greg Jennings: Dolphins QB Ryan Tannehill missing 'It Factor'

NFL Media's Oklahoma Drill series presents exclusive, quick-hitting one-on-one interviews with players and coaches from around the league. No nonsense -- just football experiences directly from the source.

Greg Jennings

Wide receiver, Retired

Born: Sept. 21, 1983

Experience: 10 NFL seasons

Interview by Brooke Cersosimo | July 28, 2016

I really came up with [the idea for my retirement announcement] because my family has a YouTube channel, and I really just wanted to bring more exposure to that. Just for people to see us as a family because it was a family decision, not just me making a transition. It was our family making a transition and making something different. It was not only going to affect me as "Dad," but our family as a whole.

Everything is next, literally everything. I'm trying to pursue every desire that I have ever thought that I really want to do, which is acting, business, analyst work, holding a different position and title when it comes to football outside from just the player perspective. So upper management level, executive, owning a team one day. I'm trying to see whatever can happen and make it happen if it is at all possible.

I would tell myself to start this process when I first stepped in the door [as a rookie]. The process of preparing for what's next [after football] but keeping what I'm doing at the forefront. Just allowing [being in the NFL] to be a catalyst to open every door or give me another opportunity to pursue when this is done.

[Behind the scenes, Brett Favre] is really a riot. What you see and how you saw him play the game with that enthusiasm, with that passion, with that excitement, that's who he is off the field. I wouldn't say he's very vocal, but he's not reserved. He just lives life and he enjoys it. He's going to find a story to tell throughout the course of every day that's going to captivate you.

I started to get a strong feeling [that I wanted to retire] when I was down in Miami last year, just the way that year was panning out. Not having my family down there with me and the stress that came with that, the undesired feelings and emotions that I had felt through the course of that entire season. I think this offseason, I remember going to work out and I'm like, What am I doin'? It was like trying to mentally push myself past the Oh, I don't really want to do it today, but in reality, it was I don't want to do it at all.

I think I left a voicemail and a text message [to Vikings GM Rick Spielman earlier this year]. My whole motive and reasoning for that call/text was simply because it's home. Minnesota is home for me and my family. If I were to play again another year, I wanted it to be right there because of what I experienced the previous year in Miami, that distance. I had never experienced that before, and it wasn't something I wanted to go through again.

Man, I would say that I've never had really tough coaches. Maybe that's a testament to me being a coachable player because they've never really had to come down hard on me. But if I had to pick a guy, in college I played for a guy by the name of Gary Darnell. Tough, hard-nosed, all about defensive football. He was very biased to defensive guys versus offensive guys.

"You mad, bro?" We joke at home all the time, and my son says that every single day. If there's a disagreement or something, he'll say, "Daddy, you mad, bro?" So I guess in a light way, I would say [to Aaron Rodgers,] "You mad, bro?"

I want to see everything [from Ryan Tannehill this season]. I want to see, can he take charge? Can he lead? Can he make the plays that he knows that he needs to make to be an elite quarterback? Can he be instinctive and just play football and not so much in a sense be robotic in doing what he's asked to do? Can he not only do what he's asked to do, but can he supersede that? ... I think in this league to be considered one of the elite guys, it's when you're doing that thing that a coach can't ask you to do. ... It's that "It Factor" that we all need to see from Tannehill.

There is no ceiling unless [DeVante Parker] sets a ceiling for himself. He has the potential, but as we all know, potential is one of those words that no one ever really wants to hear because it's unmanifested. It's a matter of him taking what he was able to do the last part of the year and being able to do it over a whole season. ... Guys who are playing against you, they've seen you in action, they know what you do. And you have to be better than what you were before consistently, week in and week out.

Is that even a question? I'm a "Purple Rain" fan. "Purple Rain" shot to the top of my Prince list because after he passed, I want to say maybe three days or the day after, it rained and the lights on the bridge were purple. I mean, it was unbelievable.

There was a lot of uncertainties [when I went to play for Minnesota]. It was like entering the league all over again because you didn't know what to expect. The only thing that I could anticipate was that the Packer fans were going to hate me now. That was the only thing that I knew to be a fact. But it was a very unique experience. It was definitely probably the most unique transition that I've had to make over the course of my career, but it's one that I enjoyed and I embraced because I knew my time in Green Bay was up. I knew I had to move on, but it just happened to be with the most beloved Vikings.

My favorite memory [at Lambeau Field] is honestly family night. It's an experience like no other. Tickets are extremely cheap, but the stadium is packed. You get to share a game atmosphere with your family and just you have that freedom to interact with fans and interact with family to a degree that obviously we don't get to do over the course of a regular-season game. So that's probably the highlight of Lambeau.

Charles Woodson. Hands down. He's so savvy, so smart. He is the only corner that I've really seen that has the ability to really do it all.

Larry Fitzgerald [deserves a Super Bowl ring]. I've trained with this guy. I know his work ethic. I know how he approaches the game. He does it the right way, and he's still doing it at a high level. It may happen this year. They have a pretty good nucleus and they'll have a shot.

What I'm most proud of when I look back over my 10-year career was I tried to keep things in perspective when it came to balance of my faith, my family and then what it was that I was doing on the football field. I never allowed that to jump to the forefront and take first place at any moment to where I totally got lost in it. I was still able to give it 100 percent every time I stepped on the football field.

I can be more vocal about my passion and my love for the Colts. I've always been a Colts fan, so I guess [now that I'm retired] I can start back rooting for the Colts.

The best piece of advice, honestly, probably came from Donald Driver. He just said like, "Slow down, young pup. Everything doesn't have to be full speed." And I think that's safe to say when it comes to life. Slow down and enjoy it and take it all in. But at the same time, don't slow down to the point to where you're not progressing and moving forward.

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