Greg Jennings Redeemed the Javon Walker Debacle
Greg Jennings has announced his retirement today after ten years in the NFL, so let's take a couple minutes to remember his biggest contribution to the Packers: bailing them out of the Javon Walker situation.
One of the hallmarks of the Mike Sherman GM era was the protracted contract dispute with Walker. Walker argued (rightly) that he had outperformed his rookie deal with 89 catches for 1,382 yards and twelve touchdowns in 2004. The Packers argued (rightly) that Walker was still under contract and was obligated to provide his services.
Walker eventually reported for camp and promptly tore up his knee in week one of the 2005 season. The Packers shipped him to Denver for a second round pick during the 2006 draft, and immediately struck gold with Greg Jennings.
While Walker would quickly flame out in Denver, Jennings was a godsend, racking up 425 catches, 6,537 yards, 53 touchdowns, two Pro Bowls, and a Super Bowl ring during his seven seasons with Green Bay.
Jennings' signature play came when the Packers needed one most: late in the fourth quarter of Super Bowl XLV. Green Bay, up 28-25, needed points to put the game away. On a third and ten from their own 25 yard line, Rodgers fired a laser across the middle to Jennings for 44 yards.
Instead of punting the ball back to Pittsburgh with ample time and needing only a field goal to send the game to overtime, the Packers were able to wind the clock down and force the Steelers to attempt to drive the length of the field for a touchdown.
Talk about putting the team on your back, though.
Though the ending was at times pretty ugly, Jennings was a valuable piece for the Packers and one of the NFL's best during his time in the league. Here's hoping he finds as much success in retirement as he did during his playing days.