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Aaron Rodgers: I feel bad for Johnny Manziel

Johnny Manziel OVO DrakeWhen it comes to the many adventures of Johnny Manziel, there are generally two lines of thought. On one side, you have people who think he is a spoiled college kid who needs to focus less on partying and more on football. On the other, there are people who say a 20-year-old kid is entitled to do what 20-year-old kids do without constantly being scrutinized. Aaron Rodgers is part of the latter crew.

During an interview with Sports Illustrated’s Peter King, Rodgers spoke about how difficult it must be to be a college superstar in 2013.

“I feel bad for Johnny Manziel,” Rodgers said. “I mean, he’s made some decisions … I just think, he’s a 20-year-old kid, and I wish he could just live like a 20-year-old.

“Ten years ago, when I was in college, nobody was following anyone around. I could walk around campus [at Cal] and no one knew who I was. No Twitter. Facebook was just starting. I didn’t even know what my Berkeley.edu address was. I couldn’t get a Facebook page. So that’s how things have changed.”

Rodgers went on to say that he loves the NFL but feels the media has “too much access” between cameras in locker rooms and social media sites always accessible.

A lot of people feel the same way Rodgers does about Manziel, but even Johnny’s own father has worried about him not being able to handle the fame. Plenty of college quarterbacks and Heisman Trophy winners before him were just as popular but kept a lower profile. Manziel does very little to keep the spotlight off himself, so it’s tough for me to feel badly for him.

Greg Jennings apologizes to Aaron Rodgers

Greg Jennings PackersGreg Jennings has seemed quite bitter since he left the Green Bay Packers and signed with the Minnesota Vikings. You would think a five-year, $45 million contract would be enough to make a player forget his old team, but Jennings has had some controversial things to say about former teammate Aaron Rodgers on more than one occasion. On Thursday, he apologized.

“Aaron’s a phenomenal quarterback,” Jennings told Mark Craig of the Star-Tribune. “He knows that. No one needs to tell him that. What he’s done over the course of the last five years? Phenomenal. He set the bar high for quarterbacks in this league. He set the bar high for offenses in this league. Everything I say is all out of fun. I’m just saying something just to say it. They know that’s not me.”

Jennings finally mentioned Rodgers by name, which is something he has seemingly avoided throughout the offseason. Jennings recently said that Rodgers was praised so much in Green Bay that it became difficult for him to hold himself accountable, and Vikings coach Leslie Frazier later told his new receiver to stop talking about his former team.

“I was on the field and [Frazier] ran over to me and asked me what I said,” Jennings explained. “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.”

But did he call Rodgers personally to apologize?

“No. For what?” Jennings asked. “I’m apologizing right now. If it got to him with [the media] right now, I feel if I apologize right here, he’ll hear that, too. Will you make sure he hears that?”

In my opinion, Jennings hasn’t said anything offensive enough about Rodgers or the Packers to warrant an apology. That being said, he has made himself sound like someone who can’t get over his former team not wanting to keep him around. Burying the hatchet and moving forward is probably the best thing for all parties.

H/T Pro Football Talk

Leslie Frazier tells Greg Jennings to stop the Aaron Rodgers talk

Greg Jennings PackersMinnesota Vikings head coach Leslie Frazier met with Greg Jennings on Saturday to tell the wide receiver to knock it off with the Aaron Rodgers junk.

Jennings has made a few negative comments about his former Green Bay teammate since signing with the NFC North rival Vikings in March. In one interview, Jennings chose Brett Favre over Rodgers and wouldn’t call Rodgers by name. Then, last week, Jennings criticized Rodgers by saying the MVP quarterback does not hold himself accountable.

When offered a chance to respond to the criticism, Rodgers said he was only concerned about his team, not former teammates. It sounds like Frazier would like Jennings to take the same approach.

“We’re the Vikings and we want to talk about us, what we’re trying to get done,” Frazier said of his meeting with Jennings, per the St. Paul Pioneer Press. “That’s where our focus has to be. There’s so much work to be done, and we don’t want to be looking at what’s happening with other teams, other teams’ players. We’ve got to focus on us. He’s good with that.”

Frazier also said he hopes this will be the last of the Jennings-Rodgers stories. I don’t blame him. Rodgers is already one of the top quarterbacks in the league and a guy the Vikings have to play at least twice a season. The last thing Frazier wants is Rodgers to have more motivation to stick it to them when the teams play, all on account of the new guy’s trash talk.

Aaron Rodgers responds to Greg Jennings

Aaron Rodgers Greg Jennings

Aaron Rodgers responded on Friday to the comments of former Green Bay Packers teammate Greg Jennings, who was critical of the MVP quarterback in an interview with the Minneapolis Star Tribune this week.

Jennings and Rodgers were Packers teammates from 2006-2012, and Jennings says Rodgers had become so successful that it was difficult for him to be held accountable. It was the second time since signing with the Minnesota Vikings that Jennings expressed hard feelings towards Rodgers. In June, he wouldn’t mention Rodgers by name and said he’d take Brett Favre over Rodgers.

Rodgers responded on Friday after the Packers’ first training camp practice, telling the media he’s not concerned about what people are saying outside of his locker room.

“Well, like I said last year when there was some comments kind of like this, I’ve got a great responsibility to the guys in this locker room and the fans, and at this point, I don’t have a whole lot of time or energy to spend worrying about things that are said outside the building,” Rodgers said via Paul Imig of FOX Sports Wisconsin. “I know those are stories for you guys, but personally, I’m focused on this team. Obviously, you hear about them, but I’m not going to spend a lot of time or energy on them.”

Rodgers continued to say that he’s only concerned with the opinions of current teammates, not former teammates.

Head coach Mike McCarthy did comment on the situation, saying on Thursday, “When you put on that purple, something happens to you.”

Rodgers saying some similar comments were made last year was a reference to the agent of tight end Jermichael Finley questioning Rodgers’ leadership. For a guy who’s thrown for 84 touchdowns and just 14 interceptions the past two seasons, Rodgers seems to be taking a lot of heat. Maybe a lot of that has to do with his receivers being upset that they don’t get enough balls thrown their way because of all the receiver competition.

Aaron Rodgers on Ryan Braun: ‘It doesn’t feel great being lied to’

Aaron Rodgers Ryan BraunAside from Ryan Braun himself, there were very few people who looked more idiotic than Aaron Rodgers when Braun’s suspension was announced. Rodgers, who became very good friends with Braun due to their similar ages and career paths, was extremely vocal in defending Braun back in 2011 when Braun failed a drug test.

At Green Bay Packers training camp on Friday, Rodgers broke the silence on the situation and explained to reporters how a friend let him down.

“I was shocked, I really was, just like many of you were,” Rodgers said, via Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “I was backing up a friend. He looked me in the eye on multiple occasions and repeatedly denied these allegations and said they were not true.

“So, it is disappointing, not only for myself as a friend, but for obviously Wisconsin sports fans, Brewer fans, really baseball fans. It doesn’t feel great being lied to like that and I’m disappointed in the way it all went down.”

While Rodgers probably could have been quieter in defending his friend and not bet a Twitter follower a year’s salary that he was clean, you almost have to feel sorry for him. We all want to support our friends and believe what they are telling us is true. On Friday, Rodgers wouldn’t even say if he was committed to still running a restaurant with Braun.

“That’s yet to be determined,” he said. “I don’t regret backing a friend up. Obviously in hindsight a more measured approach would obviously be a better course of action. I definitely believe in forgiveness and moving forward. He has a tough task in front of him moving forward with his career, on and off the field.”

But is he still considered a friend?

“I was disappointed in the way it went down … I trusted him,” Rodgers said. “That’s the thing that probably hurts the most.”

Again, I doubt Rodgers would have been so vocal if he did not believe Braun. Like many others, he was duped. Next time he’ll know to keep his opinion to himself rather than flaunting it in public.

Greg Jennings: It was difficult for Aaron Rodgers to hold himself accountable

Greg-Jennings-PackersGreg Jennings helped Aaron Rodgers become one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL when Rodgers took over for Brett Favre in 2008. The two won a Super Bowl together with the Green Bay Packers in 2011 and hooked up for more than 4,000 yards and 35 touchdowns from 2008-2011. Last season, Jennings battled injuries and was basically phased out of Green Bay’s offense.

Now with the Minnesota Vikings, Jennings sounds like he is happy to have a fresh start. On Thursday, he basically told Dan Weiderer of the Star Tribune that the shadow Rodgers was casting had become too large.

“A lot of times when you have a guy who creates that spotlight for himself and establishes that and takes a lot of that, it becomes so-and-so and the team,” Jennings explained. “For me, I’m such a team person, I’m going to defer to my teammates. I’m going to defer to the team, to the team, to the team. And I think when you reach a point where you’re not deferring any longer, it’s no longer really about the team.”

Rodgers is arguably the best quarterback in the NFL, and the quarterback position is more important than ever now with how much the league relies on passing. He gets most of the attention for Green Bay’s success just as Tom Brady gets it in New England and Drew Brees in New Orleans. However, Jennings said the attention made it hard for Rodgers to acknowledge his flaws.

“Don’t get me wrong, ‘12′ is a great person,” Jennings said. “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.”

Coincidentally, Jennings once again chose to not mention Rodgers by name. Although he may have been just messing with his former teammate, he did the same thing in an interview last month.

With Christian Ponder now his quarterback, it will be interesting to see if Jennings starts to miss Rodgers if things go poorly in Minnesota. But if that happens, Jennings can always stare at Ponder’s incredibly hot wife. That should make it all better.

H/T Eye on Football

Aaron Rodgers bet a year’s salary that Ryan Braun was innocent

Aaron Rodgers Ryan BraunWhen Ryan Braun was first implicated for failing a drug test during his MVP season for the Milwaukee Brewers, nobody defended him in public more firmly than Aaron Rodgers. The two are around the same age, from California, and they’re both star athletes for Wisconsin teams. They became very close friends and even opened a restaurant together.

The Green Bay Packers quarterback lashed out against the person who leaked the news of Braun’s failed test, saying there should be more confidentiality. Then, when Braun won his appeal for the positive test, Rodgers celebrated over Twitter and told MLB to eat crow.

At the time, we pointed out that Rodgers’ celebration was premature; winning the appeal never meant that Braun was innocent, nor did it explain how his test had elevated levels of testosterone. That didn’t stop Rodgers from boasting about Braun being exonerated. He even told a Twitter user he’d “put my salary on it next year” that Braun didn’t use PEDs:

Aaron Rodgers Ryan Braun bet

Even though Rodgers looks like a dope right now and it’s easy to point and laugh at him because he was wrong, I feel badly. How hurt and disappointed do you think he is to learn that Braun lied to him this whole time and really was cheating?

H/T World of Isaac