GREEN BAY – James Jones rolled his eyes and smiled. While the rest of the football world might’ve thought his getting yelled at on the field by quarterback Aaron Rodgers Thursday night was a big deal, the Green Bay Packers sixth-year wide receiver most certainly did not.
“Me and A-Rod are way closer than that, man, to let something like that come in between us,” Jones told a gaggle of reporters at his locker Tuesday, as the Packers returned to practice for the first time since Thursday night’s victory over the Chicago Bears.
In the fourth quarter of that game, Jones ran a route on which he was supposed to cut in front of Bears cornerback Tim Jennings. Instead, he was indecisive at the top of his route, allowing Jennings to intercept the pass. The Packers were up 23-3 at the time, and four plays later, quarterback Jay Cutler hit tight end Kellen Davis for a 21-yard touchdown – Chicago’s only TD of the game – to pull the Bears within 23-10 with 6:49 to play.
The Packers wound up holding on from there, but Rodgers’ angry reaction led to varied opinions on whether he shouldn’t have chastised Jones so publicly after the play.
“We’re out there trying to win the ball game. It was my fault. I gave him mixed signals,” Jones said Tuesday. “I mean, we’re all emotional out there, man. It’s common, man. We do a lot of head gestures and stuff like that, the camera may not just be on us. Me and him, we’re both competitive, we’re trying to win. It was my fault. We don’t ever want to turn the ball over. I’m not mad at him. Shoot, we’re trying to win, man. Get on me. I messed up.”
When it was suggested that no one likes to be yelled at, certainly not in front of 70,000 people at Lambeau Field and millions watching on the NFL Network, Jones laughed and likened it to him yelling at his son James, who was born during last season.
“I’m sure a lot of people here got kids, right? Your kids do something wrong, you yell at them every once and a while,” Jones said. “You tell them, ‘You can’t do that. Don’t go back by that outlet. You do it again, Daddy (is) gonna pop you.’ That’s all it is. We’re a family out there. Sometimes we argue, sometimes that stuff is going to happen. Like I said, it was my fault, (I) made a mistake, should’ve crossed (Jennings’) face.
“At that point in time, we’re trying to make a play. We’re struggling as an offense already, especially in these first two games. Frustration will kick in. But I love that dude, man. That ain’t going to change nothing.”
Jones said he and Rodgers have talked and that the quarterback apologized to him.
“Yeah, we talked. He apologized, said he’s sorry for showing his emotions. But I was like, ‘Ain’t no need to apologize. We’re trying to win. I messed up. Frustration happens,’” Jones said. “It’s all good. No love lost. We’re teammates. We’re family in here. Like I said, everybody is trying to win.’
Jones was also asked about Rodgers’ leadership, and whether the incident reflected poorly on him. Agent Blake Baratz, who represents tight end Jermichael Finley and linebacker Desmond Bishop, had written on his Twitter account Monday that Rodgers is not a great leader.
“For people to question his leadership is ridiculous. He’s a natural-born leader, not just by what he says, but how he carries himself, how he plays the game, how he handles certain situations,” Jones said. “Everybody in this locker room looks up to him as a leader. Everybody in this locker room believes in him.”
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