Greg Jennings respects Packers

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Minnesota Vikings receiver Greg Jennings said Wednesday he was "just messing around" this past summer when he criticized his former team, the Green Bay Packers, and quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

Speaking on a conference call with reporters at Lambeau Field in advance of Sunday's Packers-Vikings game in Minnesota, Jennings admitted he may have gone too far when he criticized Rodgers' leadership skills and said he was "brainwashed" when he played for the Packers.

"I probably took it a little too far," Jennings said Wednesday. "No, I was happy there. Obviously there's things that go on throughout life that you wish would be different. But it is what it is. You have to roll with the punches. Obviously, on my end of it, I feel like there were a lot of things that were kind of manipulated to appear a lot worse than what I was intending for them to be. That's just, as a player, you have to watch what you say, so you learn and you grow."

Jennings, who played his first seven seasons with the Packers, signed a five-year, $45 million free-agent contract with the Vikings in March.

"That's behind me, but at the same time I have the utmost respect for that organization," Jennings said. "I was just really razzing a little bit with Aaron, just knowing how he is and just going back and forth with some of the guys. It wasn't meant to hurt anyone's feelings.

"It was just really messing around initially, and then everyone kind of blew it a little bit out of proportion. I have the most respect for that organization. I had my most successful years there, and I still have relations with some of the guys over there and still have the respect that I had when I was playing there with them. ... I still have respect for them."

Jennings also addressed his comments in his media availability at the Vikings' headquarters in Eden Prairie, Minn.

"There were some things said that, man, if I could say it over again, I would have to reword it, so it could be conveyed a little differently. But they were said," he said. "I can't focus on that. I have to focus on the now, and who I am and where I am now.

"I have a lot of love for everyone in that locker room. I don't hate, have no hatred for anyone in that locker room. I know this is a rivalry, but I don't hate anyone over there. The organization was great to me. Fans were great to me, and the guys continue to be great to me."

Jennings was critical of Rodgers in a story published in the Minneapolis Star Tribune in July. During the interview, Jennings referred to Rodgers by his uniform number and not his name.

"Don't get me wrong, '12' is a great person," Jennings said at the time. "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 say that now because all they've heard is I'm doing it the right way; I'm perfect. In actuality, we all have flaws."

On Wednesday, Jennings said in his conference call that he has not talked to Rodgers, nor did he reach out to him to clarify his comments. However, he did say that he still talks to several Packers players.

"If Aaron knows me like he's known me over the past seven years, then he knows I'm not one of those guys that wishes ill will on anyone or tries to stand out and be apart from the team," Jennings said. "Hopefully he knows that.

"Again, I can't live in the past or what was said. I have to move on. I know and you guys know that he's a great quarterback. He's the best player in the game. So, regardless of what anybody says, that's not going to change, and that hasn't changed."

Rodgers, during his weekly radio show on ESPN 540 in Milwaukee on Tuesday, took the high road.

"Well, I'm not going to approach it with any bitterness or any malice towards him," Rodgers said. "I choose to remember the great times that we had together, the great wins, the incredible moments. That's what I like to focus on. Regardless of what he wants to remember, that's the things, the positive things that I focus on.

"But I think we're definitely past all that stuff, and he's with them, and I'm focused on the guys we got and getting those guys ready to play."

ESPN.com Vikings reporter Ben Goessling contributed to this report.