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Updated: August 1st, 2013 6:36pm
Zulgad: Greg Jennings changes his tune when it comes to Packers QB

Zulgad: Greg Jennings changes his tune when it comes to Packers QB

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by Judd Zulgad
1500ESPN.com

MANKATO, Minn. -- Greg Jennings said it was all in fun. That former teammate Aaron Rodgers has to know the wide receiver was never serious. But, just in case, the Green Bay Packers quarterback did take his comments seriously, Jennings is now sorry.

Not sorry enough to call Rodgers, but sorry enough to send another message through the media.

Jennings also called Rodgers by name several times after Thursday's practice, but insisted that he would still refer to the Pro Bowl QB simply as 12. That's Rodgers' jersey number and what Jennings has called him for much of the time since signing with the Minnesota Vikings as a free agent in March.

"Those guys across that state line, man, I had an outstanding time with those guys," said Jennings, who spent his first seven seasons with the Packers. "Everything I said, I'm joking. I'm messing, I'm pulling Aaron's arm. If he doesn't know that, or you guys don't know that, I played with the guy for seven years. I think he knows that. Mike (McCarthy), great coach. Again, these are guys that established my career."

Jennings and Rodgers have had a back-and-forth throughout the offseason that seemed to be, for the most part, in fun. That changed a bit when the Star Tribune recently ran a lengthy article on Jennings that included what appeared to be some direct shots at Rodgers and the fact he had become bigger than his team.

"Don't get me wrong, '12' is a great person," Jennings told the paper. "But when you hear all positives, all positives, all positives all the time, it's hard for you to sit down when one of your teammates says, 'Man, come on, you've got to hold yourself accountable for this.' It's hard for someone to see that now because all they've heard is I'm doing it the right way, I'm perfect. In actuality, we all have flaws."

This caused Vikings coach Leslie Frazier to talk to Jennings last weekend about keeping his focus on the Vikings. Jennings spoke to the media for the first time since that conversation on Thursday.

"I was on the field," when Frazier approached, Jennings said. "I was wondering where everybody was coming up with that (story). He just ran over to me and asked me what I said and that was really the gist of it. He said, 'Keep it about our guys.' Literally, that was it. I don't really recall saying anything negative about Aaron or anyone over there but, hey, I apologize."

Asked if he had called Rodgers, Jennings said, "No, for what? ... I'm apologizing right now. If (the criticism) got to him with you guys, then I feel like if I apologize from right here he will hear that, too."

Told that he had started calling Rodgers by his name, Jennings said, "Oh, we're talking about '12'? Got you. No, he's still '12.' He's still '12.' I can't give him that. He's '12.' He's no longer the MVP. We have the MVP over here (in Adrian Peterson)."

While Jennings' comments in the Star Tribune seemed to be a genuine criticism of Rodgers, his responses Thursday indicated that he was trying to lighten the mood when it came to his ex-teammate.

"A piece of me is still (in Green Bay)," Jennings said. "There's still some Greg over there. I put a lot of time in with those guys and no one can take that away, no matter what's done and what's said. Aaron's a phenomenal quarterback. He knows that, no one needs to tell him that.

"What he's done over the course of the last five years ... phenomenal, phenomenal. He's set the bar, he's set the bar high for quarterbacks in this league. He's set the bar high for offenses in this league. So everything I've said, it's all out of fun. I'm just saying something just to say it. They know that's not me."  

Judd Zulgad is a columnist for 1500ESPN.com. He co-hosts "Mackey & Judd" from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. weekdays and "Saturday Morning SportsTalk" from 10 a.m. to noon on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
Email Judd | @1500ESPNJudd | Mackey & Judd
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