For a lot of athletes, you can really only imagine them playing the sport they’ve already mastered. Imagine Alexander Ovechkin playing in the NBA or Kobe Bryant playing in the NHL. You just can’t see it. For Kalamazoo, Michigan native, Greg Jennings, sports have been his life since he was younger. While attending Kalamazoo Central High School, Jennings was an all-conference athlete in basketball, football and track. If you missed him when he took the field with the football team on offense, no need to worry, he was coming right back out for the defensive side of things as well. While being a star on both sides of the field in football, Jennings also managed to finish seventh in voting for Mr. Basketball of Michigan in 2000-01 and scored a school record 50 points in a losing effort against Benton Harbor in his senior year. Although he would turn heads in high school for his emphatic athletic ability, he’s now got the entire football world tuning in when the Green Bay Packers take the field to see what the Pro Bowl wide receiver has in store.
Drafted in the second round with the 52nd overall pick in the 2006 NFL Draft, Greg Jennings has been a key asset to the Green Bay Packers offense since his rookie season when he broke out. He was named a starter for the first game of the season after leading the NFL in receiving yards during the preseason and ended up starting a total of 11 games in his rookie campaign. He made 45 receptions for 632 yards and scored 3 touchdowns; one of which ended up being Brett Favre’s 400th career touchdown pass. By season’s end Jennings was named to the 2006 NFL All-Rookie team.
Jennings started the 2007 season with another historical touchdown. This time, the touchdown pass from Brett Favre was not only the game winning touchdown in a game against the Chargers, but it was Favre’s 420th touchdown pass which was good enough to tie him with Dan Marino for first place on the all-time list. That same year, in a game against the Dallas Cowboys, Greg Jennings hauled in the first ever touchdown pass thrown by Aaron Rodgers. That year Jennings’ stats improved in every category. He caught 53 passes for a total of 920 yards, while scoring 12 touchdowns. He only ended up making 8 more receptions than he did in his rookie season, but he showed an improvement of 288 yards and 9 touchdowns from the previous year.
The following season Jennings proved to his team and the rest of the league that he was the real deal when it came to being one of the game’s top receivers. He improved his total receptions by nearly 30, finishing with 80 on the season and improved his total yards once again, this time by a total of 372 yards as he finished the year with 1,292 receiving yards. Although his total touchdowns dropped by three from the previous year, Jennings proved that he could perform every single night as expected. The two seasons that would follow were no different. He managed to finish each year with 1,000+ receiving yards, was selected to play in a Pro Bowl and brought the Vince Lombardi Trophy back to Lambeau Field when the Packers beat the Steelers in Super Bowl XLV as he recorded 4 receptions for 64 yards and scored two touchdowns; one of which proved to be the winner.
Coming into this current NFL season, Jennings has been nothing but impressive through five seasons in the pros. He has caught 322 passes for 5,222 yards and has scored 40 touchdowns. Through just two games this season, Jennings has nine receptions for 144 yards and two touchdowns. He has become a go-to guy for Aaron Rodgers and the Packers offense has he always finds a way to hurl in any pass regardless of the distance. When he isn’t receiving the pass, he’s looking out for his offense in other ways that fans and players wouldn’t expect to see night in and night out from their star wide receiver.
Aside from the excellence that Jennings portrays every week on the football field, he’s doing something that is equally as amazing, if not even more, off the field. Since 2008, the Greg Jennings Foundation has been active and going full force. The private family foundation and non-profit Christian-based organization is dedicated to assisting children and families in obtaining their personal, professional and financial goals in life. Since Jennings is a native of Michigan, he tends to focus on helping out the communities within Michigan and Wisconsin. The Greg Jennings Foundation also teams up with local charities from those communities by making grants towards the ones that have their main focus on youth education and empowering today’s youth. Key programs that the Foundation offers are; after-school programs; college preparation courses; teen parenting; financial success; estate planning; home ownership and maintenance; and maintaining healthy lifestyles. Jennings focuses on the children to help turn them into the leaders of tomorrow and help turn around the communities that are in desperate need of financial help by getting everyone to work and grow together.
Greg Jennings has been one of the best and most consistent wide receivers to play the game in the last 5 years. He has shown everyone that he can put up 1,000-yards year after year like it’s nobody’s business. He is one of the faster receivers in the game today, with the ability to make circus-like catches whether the ball sails over his head or five feet to his left. Jennings and Rodgers both have given Packers fans a reason to stay positive for many years to come. They have become one of the greatest duos in the league and will only continue to have success throughout the course of their careers. Greg Jennings is one of the most admirable receivers in the game for the way he plays. He makes any difficult catch look like it was nothing and makes you think that the game is set on fast forward when you watch him take off downfield. His style of play will keep the fans smiling for years to come and his humanitarianism and generosity will keep them smiling for many more once his time has expired in the NFL. The greatness doesn’t stay on the field with Greg Jennings, it follows him wherever he goes.
To learn more about the Greg Jennings Foundation, visit http://www.gj85foundation.com/