Wide receiver Greg Jennings has announced his retirement from the NFL after 10 seasons.
Jennings became a free agent in March when he was cut loose by the Dolphins. The 32-year-old Jennings was widely expected to be a cap casualty this offseason, as the results of his first season with the Dolphins was wholly uninspiring. He posted career-lows in nearly every statistical category, catching just 19 passes for 208 yards and one touchdown. After terminating the final year of Jennings’ two-year contract, Miami saved $4MM on its salary cap while incurring $1.5MM in dead money.
The Kalamazoo, Michigan native appeared in all 16 regular season games for the Dolphins last season but it was clear that he was not as sharp as he had been in previous years. Jennings saw a career low in targets (36) and receptions (19), totaling just 208 yards and one touchdown.
While things didn’t go as planned in Miami, Jennings will be remembered for the quality seasons that he enjoyed in his prime, particularly with the Packers. From 2007 through 2011, Jennings averaged 1,108 yards and nine touchdown grabs per season for Green Bay. In 2010 and 2011, Jennings earned Pro Bowl nods for his exceptional play. More importantly, Jennings helped the Packers capture a championship ring in 2010. After the 2012 season in Green Bay, Jennings joined up with the rival Vikings and delivered two productive seasons.
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- The Packers had offered B.J. Raji a “lucrative” contract, indicating that they expected him to play a major role on their 2016 squad. However, as ESPN.com’s Rob Demovsky writes, the defensive lineman’s one-year hiatus from the NFL suddenly changed the organization’s offseason plans.
- Fullback John Kuhn told SiriusXM on Friday that he continues to work out and wait for someone to call him with an offer, and he hopes the Packers are that team (Twitter link). Kuhn spent 2007-15 in Green Bay, made four Pro Bowls – including earning a Hawaii trip the past two years – and totaled 30 touchdowns between the regular season and playoffs. The 33-year-old appeared in 26.6 percent of the Packers’ offensive snaps and 34.7 percent of their special teams plays in 2015.
As its investigation into performance-enhancing drug allegations stemming from a 2015 Al Jazeera America documentary continues, the NFL has received written statements from accused linebackers Julius Peppers Clay Matthews III, James Harrison and Mike Neal, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com. While the NFLPA regards those sworn affidavits as reasonable cooperation from the players, the league disagrees and is still requiring the individuals to partake in in-person interviews at training camp.
The league informed the union that it first plans to interview Neal, who spent 2010-15 with the Packers but is currently a free agent. He attributes his unemployment, at least in part, to the documentary that links him, Peppers and Harrison to hormone supplement Delta-2, which is designed to stay ahead of drug tests.
Training camp opens for the Packers on July 26, which is the earliest the league can interview Peppers and Matthews – whom ex-Guyer Institute pharmacists Charlie Sly and Chad Robertson connect to the painkiller Toradol in the documentary. The soonest the league can talk to Harrison is July 29, when the Steelers start camp, though the 38-year-old isn’t pleased with the notion of participating in an interview and denies ever having met or communicated with Sly. In defense of Harrison and the other besieged players, the union wrote in a letter to the NFL last month that the league lacks ‘‘sufficient credible evidence’ to initiate an investigation of, and require an interview with, an employee.”
Nevertheless, despite the union’s objections, the league will go through with the interviews. There’s no word yet on if it will talk to retired quarterback Peyton Manning, the most famous player mentioned in the documentary. Given that Manning’s playing career is over, the league can’t force him to cooperate. However, if his desire is to eventually land a job as a front office executive, he’ll have to.
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The NFL is looking into whether Packers linebackers Clay Matthews and Julius Peppers used performance enhancing drugs, but team president and CEO Mark Murphy says that the organization has not been looped in on theAl Jazeera investigation as it pertains to its players.
“The league is pursuing that,” Murphy said, according to Michael Cohen of the Journal Sentinel. “I know there’s been some resistance from the NFLPA about the credibility of some of the sources there. But I don’t think we know much more than that.”
Matthes, Peppers, and the other players cited in the infamous Al Jazeera documentary have denied any wrongdoing. The league is planning to interview all of the players named in the December doc, but the union is resisting on grounds that it will set a precedent going forward.
Here’s more from the NFC North:
- Tim Twentyman of DetroitLions.com previewed the Lions‘ cornerback group heading into training camp. Of course, Darius Slay, Nevin Lawson, Quandre Diggs, and 2015 third-round pick Alex Carter are locks for the 53-man roster. After that, Johnson Bademosi, Darrin Walls, Ian Wells, Crezdon Butler, Charles Washington, Adairius Barnes, and Keith Lewis are all fighting to make the cut. Bademosi should be there thanks to his special teams skills. Meanwhile, both Walls and Butler offer veteran experience and could also make a case for sticking around in September. For a complete look at the Lions’ roster, check out their depth chart on Roster Resource.
- In looking at the Vikings‘ running back depth chart, Matt Vensel of the Star Tribune notes that fullback Zach Line could be in danger of losing his spot to Blake Renaud, a converted collegiate linebacker. Renaud spent the 2015 season on the team’s practice squad, a sign that they hold him in high regard even as many teams have moved away from the fullback position.
- Earlier this week, the Bears signed veteran guard Amini Silatolu.
- After posting his worst statistical season in some time, Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers is hoping for a bounceback year, and he’s taken steps to move in that direction, as Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel writes. Rodgers has lost weight, slimming down to 215 pounds, and also underwent surgery after Green Bay’s postseason run in order to clean up a knee injury. The former MVP produced a career-worst passer rating of 92.7 in 2016, but quarterbacks coach Alex Van Pelt is certain Rodgers will rebound. “Not up to his standards,” Van Pelt said of Rodgers’ campaign. “Obviously, we’ve targeted improvement areas, and he’s on board.”
- The Packers worked out former Texas A&M punter Taylor Symmank today, reports Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle (Twitter link). Symmank was apparently close to an agreement with the division rival Vikings earlier this year, but no word of an official signing was ever reported. Green Bay appears to be updating its specialist emergency list, as the club auditioned kicker Brent Wahle yesterday.
- The Packers have reached the 90-man roster limit by signing cornerback Warren Gatewood of Alcorn State, Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com tweets.
- The Packers are working out kicker Brent Wahle on Wednesday, a source tells Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle (Twitter link). Wahle, an Ohio Dominican product, spent a few days in Browns camp earlier this year but didn’t earn a contract. He obviously won’t challenge Mason Crosby for the starting job in Green Bay, but Wahle could act as a camp kicker.
- Packers general manager Ted Thompson went outside his comfort zone and signed an external free agent this offseason, inking tight end Jared Cook after he was released by the Rams, and Aaron Rodgers is hoping Cook and incumbent Richard Rogers can form a lethal combination. “We haven’t figured that out yet,” Rodgers told Rob Reischel of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. “Obviously we haven’t even put the pads on, so we’re just trying to work through it. Obviously when you have two tight ends on the field it creates a matchup problem, so we’ll see where that goes.” Cook, who has never appeared in a playoff game during his NFL career, signed a one-year, $2.75MM deal with Green Bay that contains $900K in incentives.