When asking Western Michigan Director of Athletics Kathy Beauregard about Jennings, she talks about how great of a player he was and how he did it the right way. She also talks about how he and his family continue to be involved in the Kalamazoo community. She said, “He is no doubt one of the strongest leaders I have ever seen. He is an incredible role model.”
During Jennings’ senior year at WMU, he didn’t enroll in classes second semester so he could focus on training for the NFL Draft. “When he left, he promised he’d come back and get his degree,” says Beauregard. “He committed to coming back, and last off season he finished up his degree.” Jennings finally walked the stage at Western Michigan on May 1, 2010, in Kalamazoo.
Western Michigan Athletic Director Kathy Beauregard with Greg Jennings and University President John M. Dunn at Graduation.
After a very successful college career at Western Michigan where he recorded 172 catches for 2,351 yards and 25 touchdowns, Greg was drafted 52nd overall in the 2006 NFL Draft by the Green Bay Packers.
In his rookie season he had some good games and finished the year with 632 yards on 45 catches for an average of 14 yards per catch with 3 TDs, including future Hall of Famer Brett Favre’s 400th TD pass on September 24, 2006.
In Greg’s second year he had a break-out season with 920 yards and 12 scores, including his favorite memory as a Packer, where he caught an 82-yard game-winning touchdown from Brett Favre against the Denver Broncos on October 29, 2007, which happened to be Monday Night Football. He also caught both Favre’s 420th record-tying and 421st record-breaking TD passes in September of 2007.
Despite all the quarterback drama with the Packers in 2008, Greg meshed well with new QB Aaron Rodgers and finished the year with a career high – 80 catches for 1,292 yards and 9 TDs. Last year he accumulated 1,113 yards on 68 catches with 4 TDs while taking a lot of pressure off fellow WR Donald Driver and stud TE Jermichael Finley.
As Jennings’ on-field accolades continue, it is the off-the-Field actions that are most impressive. Greg and his wife Nicole do a ton for communities in Wisconsin and Michigan. In 2007, they started the Greg Jennings Foundation, which helps underprivileged people by partnering with other organizations. In fact, the weekend Eastbay did the cover shoot with Greg he was in Kalamazoo on-site with Habitat for Humanity, where a new house was being built for a family in need.
Even when it came to wanting a new contract last year, he handled it in a respectable way, not threatening to hold out but just going about his daily football routine.
His hard work and positive attitude paid off as he ended up inking what was, at the time, the second largest WR payday only behind his friend Larry Fitzgerald. It was a three-year deal worth $27 million. Although that is a lot of cash, most Packer fans would tell you he is worth every penny.
Jennings continues to push himself by working with NFL greats Jerry Rice and Cris Carter along with the aforementioned Fitzgerald to keep getting better. GJ is on the verge of becoming a Pro Bowler, but discusses his team first. He speaks highly of his teammates and when asked about the team goals he says, “Obviously, Super Bowl. It’s something we set out to do each and every year.”
When he talks about the Super Bowl there’s no doubt the loyal Green Bay fans will be supporting their team. When asked about the Packers’ culture Jennings says, “It’s second to none, number 1. The fans, the organization, it’s like a huge family. Everyone cares about the betterment of their peers and co-workers, which transitions to what we do on the field. The culture of the Packers is phenomenal.”
Greg and the Packers have started the pre-season and in their first game against the Browns, he caught a 25-yard TD pass and finished with three catches for 68 yards. In the second game he had just one catch, but it went for 56 yards.
With great athleticism, a knack for making game changing plays and a good head on his shoulders, Greg Jennings sets the standard for pro athletes on and off the field. He handles himself with the utmost respect, professionalism and humbleness, all with a joking attitude and a smile on his face.