Thoughts on Driver-Jennings-Rodgers banter
Photo: Image by Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
GREEN BAY - I am not qualified to comment on the controversy swirling around comments made by former Packers receiver Greg Jennings to the Minneapolis Tribune, or by Donald Driver on ESPN and other media outlets concerning the leadership of Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
First and foremost, you and I are not privy to the private locker room of the Packers.
Secondly, I really like and respect all three guys.
In the case of Aaron, I have been a fan of his since his first start for the Cal Bears, at Illinois. I happened to be handling the telecast that day for ESPN Regional along with former UW Badgers QB Randy Wright. We were most impressed by his performance that day.
When he was drafted by the Packers, I pointed out what great fortune the Packers had to be able to draft him 24th in the first round.
I got to know Aaron starting on draft weekend and we have been friends to this day. He is first class all the way and has been that way every day I have known him.
While I admit I am not privy to the leadership in the Packers locker room, I have witnessed leadership many times in my career in sports. Walter Payton, Michael Jordan, and Charles Woodson come to mind right away.
I know this about leaders: they are not the most beloved. They are not always appreciated by everyone all the time, but above all they are respected by those who follow them.
Walter led by example as many leaders do. His ability level, desire, performance and personality made him a natural leader.
Jordan had all of that, but he literally “kicked tail” and took names.
He cajoled, brow beat and directed the Chicago Bulls to six world championships.
But to this day, his former teammates who won all those titles would not select MJ as the most beloved of teammates. That would be Scottie Pippen ,who was the teammate who consoled those who were vanquished, on occasion, by the leader.
Charles Woodson didn’t even want to be a Packer, much less the leader of the Super Bowl Packers.
But once he settled into the locker room, he took over the secondary teaching Nick Collins and Trammon Williams how to be pros and then through sheer performance his impact became team-wide.
Leaders are often bigger than life figures. We follow them out of respect. We follow them because they are often the best of the best. We respect them always, but we don’t always like them.
Leaders demand we followers be better than we ever have been. They sometimes kick and cajole us to the next level because if they don’t, they and we know we won’t get there.
As I said, I am not privy to the inner workings of the Packers locker room, but from what I have observed from the outside, Aaron Rodgers has a lot of the admirable traits of leadership that I have seen from the likes of Payton, Jordan and Woodson.