GREEN BAY – Mike McCarthy never said Greg Jennings’ name. He didn’t have to.
The Green Bay Packers coach made crystal clear what he thought of his ex-wide receiver’s latest remark about how his former team “brainwashed” its players into falling in line.
In response to a question from an out-of-town TV reporter who observed that the Packers don’t have many “look-at-me” type players and how the coach would “nip it in the bud” if that did happen, McCarthy responded thusly:
“I don’t nip it in the bud. I think it’s a product of your culture. Every coach, every player, every support staff member, and I can express to you clearly everybody in football operations understands the importance of the value of being a Green Bay Packer. That’s the way we operate, whether people like it or not. We do not do anything to jeopardize that. That’s No. 1. The brand name of the Green Bay Packers is something all of our players are educated on, and then from that, development of your individual brand? Hey, go for it. As long as it doesn’t jeopardize the brand of the Green Bay Packers. That’s the only message I’ve ever given to our team on a consistent basis, and our guys are in tune with that.”
Four-time Pro Bowl outside linebacker Clay Matthews was then asked in the locker room if he the freedom to build his “brand” and be himself while keeping in line with the team’s approach. Matthews has multiple endorsement deals and has also had cameo appearances in TV shows.
“I think a lot has to do with the way in which you (say) farewell, how that goes,” Matthews said. “With his (Jennings’) case, obviously it didn’t end on agreeable terms, and we’re very competitive – both the organization as far as winning, and players as far as winning. Whether that’s on a personal level or on a team level. So it never sits right. Obviously we saw that with a former quarterback here. So it’s something you deal with. I don’t know if that’s a good answer, but yes, to answer your question.”
Jennings, now with the Minnesota Vikings, made his comments in a radio interview with KFAN in the Twin Cities Wednesday.
“When I came over here (to the Vikings), I was kind of brainwashed. … There’s no ‘kind of’ to it,” Jennings told hosts Paul Allen and Ben Leber. “Being over in Green Bay, you’re brainwashed to think anyone in the division is tiers below. And so coming over here I meet the people within the organization and I’m like, ‘Wow, these are really great people.’
“‘It’s like, everything that you know in Green Bay is like the best, the best, the best, the best, the best. And it’s like total brainwashing. And I think you don’t open your eyes to see what other teams have to offer unless you are in that position. I was afforded this position.”
Jennings had said earlier this offseason that the Packers’ operation was “cookie-cutter” and that players felt they were “walking on eggshells” in Green Bay.
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