Green Bay Packers wide receiver Greg Jennings is a two-time Pro Bowler and Super Bowl champion who's struggled to stay on the field this season, due to a nagging groin injury suffered in Week 1 against San Francisco.
But the 29-year-old -- who will become a free agent after this season -- appears healthy enough to contribute in the playoffs after missing eight games in 2012. In his best game of the season, Week 17, Jennings totaled 120 yards and two touchdowns against Minnesota, whom the Packers will play in the Wild Card round this weekend.
Jennings caught up with The Huffington Post to talk about his pending free agency, his relationship with Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers and his gig as the new Old Spice cover man.
You’ve been featured as the new cover man for the popular Old Spice campaign, "Believe In Your Smellf." It's produced some pretty funny commercials to say the least. What’s been the reaction from fellow players?
Honestly, in the locker room, they’ve been received really well, which is really strange. I don’t know, but everybody has loved them.
How are you feeling health wise?
Well, I feel great, physically. My body is great and I’m just hitting my stride as far as getting back out there and getting involved. I’m excited.
You guys have a slew of really talented receivers; obviously yourself, Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb and James Jones. How much do you talk as a receiving core?
Oh, we talk a lot. We’re a very close-knit group. We set the bar very high for one another and ourselves, which has elevated the play. We kind of feel like, as we go, the team goes.
When you’re injured, do you watch the game differently? How much more do you watch the offense or defense specifically from the sideline?
I’m really watching my guys, seeing what we can do to create some mismatch opportunities and make sure we’re exploiting what the defense is giving us. But it’s tough standing on the sideline and watching because you're trying to watch everybody, but you can’t. Guys are coming back and asking: Did you see my route? Did you see what I did? And I’m like, 'No, I was watching Jordy on that play.'
How much do you speak with Aaron along with your offensive coordinator and receivers' coach?
I talk to Aaron quite a bit. As far as the playcaller and the offensive coordinator, I don’t talk to them a ton. They're moving me around, trying to get me back into the swing of things. Guys have made a tremendous amount of plays, which is why we’re in the position we’re in. I’m just trying to come in and keep it rolling.
Ryan Grant was recently signed at running back. He played a pivotal role for the team in years past, so what does he give you moving forward?
He’s brought that physical back. Obviously with James Starks going down, we lost that big, bruising back that’s going to fall forward pretty much every run. You know what Ryan Grant is going to give you. He runs extremely hard in this type of weather; we need it.
What is the biggest challenge for your return? Is it rust, timing?
Yeah, it’s really a lack of timing and getting off those little cobwebs. I wouldn’t call it rust, but cobwebs. Sharpening up your routes.
What can you draw from to help?
This is completely new to me. I suffered the MCL last year, late in the season, and that was completely new. These have been my only two injuries, really. It’s been a difficult and frustrating year.
How much do you talk to the team, or do you separate yourself because that competitive drive is not being fulfilled?
I try to sit back and not talk as much, because I try to focus on me, and getting back healthy and into football shape. I would sit back and play teammate/players' coach.
Aaron has become an elite player in this league, and what he’s been able to do to elevate my play. We’ve kind of complemented each other well. He’s fun to play with; very smart and very sharp.
At the line, pre-snap, are you two both at the point in your relationship where you can look at each other and know what you want the other to do in that specific play?
Absolutely. I think that when you’ve played with a guy as long as I played with Aaron (five years), you have to have that rapport and sense of non-verbal communication. I feel like we have it, not just myself, but the entire receiving core, which is why we have the success that we have.
You've made it clear you do not want the franchise tag this offseason. Have you had any talks this season with the front office about it?
How do you envision your contract negotiations playing itself out once the season is over?
I’m not sure. I know how I would like it to play itself out, which is me ending up with the 'G' on my helmet the remainder of my career, but who knows?
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