Nationals

Packers WR faces uncertain future in offseason

201212161522553531921-p2.jpeg

Packers WR faces uncertain future in offseason

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) Greg Jennings is not naive and he's not ignoring reality, either.

The veteran wide receiver is in the final year of his contract, and has yet to hear from the Green Bay Packers about an extension. Common sense - and Green Bay history - would suggest that means he'll be playing somewhere else next season, a notion Jennings doesn't dispute.

But even with the Packers playing their final home game of the regular season Sunday, Jennings isn't ready to say goodbye just yet.

``It's a sensitive subject, a sensitive topic to talk about,'' he said Wednesday. ``The reality is, we're going to have to cross that bridge at some point. But right now, we don't have to. We're playing Tennessee and I'm part of that game.''

Drafted by the Packers out of Western Michigan in 2006, Jennings wasted little time establishing himself as one of the NFL's top receivers. He caught a career-high 12 touchdown passes his second year, and his average of 17.4 yards per catch ranked fourth in the NFL. He went over the 1,000-yard mark in 2008, 2009 and 2010, when he led the NFC with 12 TD catches.

Even with missing the last three regular-season games last year, he ranked a close second to Jordy Nelson in all receiving categories, finishing with 949 yards and nine touchdowns on 67 catches.

But with James Jones under contract through 2013, Nelson signed through 2014 and Randall Cobb emerging as a big-play threat pretty much anywhere the Packers want to put him, Jennings has become somewhat expendable. This season has been a stark reminder of that, with Jones, Cobb and Nelson keeping the offense afloat while Jennings was out for eight games with a torn muscle in his lower abdomen.

Jones leads the NFL with 12 touchdowns, while Cobb has a chance to become the first player in NFL history with 1,000 yards receiving and 1,000 yards in kick returns. Nelson has missed the last two games with a hamstring injury, but he has six TDs and his 14.3 yards per catch average is the best of Green Bay's receivers.

``If these guys were jerks it would be different. But we're all so close,'' Jennings said. ``I love that they're having success. They were applauding me when I was having my success, so it's a two-way street.''

Jennings would like nothing more than to stay in Green Bay, and he can count Aaron Rodgers and coach Mike McCarthy as two of his biggest fans. He's also a fan favorite, his No. 85 jersey among the must-haves in any Cheesehead's wardrobe.

But Green Bay general manager Ted Thompson has never been one for sentimentality, doing whatever is necessary to keep the Packers among the NFL's elite. Just look at the team's bitter divorce with Brett Favre.

``It's tough. Because you put everything into it. And at the end of the day, the only thing an organization really owes you is a paycheck. That's it. That is absolutely it,'' Jennings said. ``When you get raw and uncut about it, the only thing they really owe you is a paycheck. And they can stop that if they want to.''

The Packers could always use the franchise tag on Jennings, an option that doesn't have much appeal for the receiver. As much as he'd like to stay with his original team, he and his wife have four young children and their stability is his priority.

``You want your job to have some sense of sustainability, some foundation where you can just sit your family and know you'll be somewhere for a certain amount of time,'' Jennings said. ``Franchise tags give you one year. So it's like, `OK, we've got one year.' Who knows? I'll be in the same position talking about the contract situation all over again. It's just not clear. It's not in the best interest of the player to be in that position.''

The timing of Jennings' injury makes matters even more complicated. If he'd had a typical year, there would be no shortage of teams interested in him. But he has only 201 yards receiving and one touchdown on 21 catches.

Since his return, however, Jennings has averaged double digits per catch, his best numbers of the year.

``I've made plays in the past. My resume isn't the thinnest,'' Jennings said. ``It's pretty filled up with plays that I've made over my career. But is there room for improvement? Absolutely. Do I feel like I can get better and continue to grow? Absolutely.''

Notes: OL T.J. Lang and RB Alex Green have concussions and did not practice, but McCarthy was optimistic they will be ready for Sunday's game against Tennessee. ... DB Charles Woodson practiced Wednesday, but still has not been cleared to return from his broken collarbone. ... McCarthy said Nelson is ``getting better'' and his work Tuesday was ``pretty extensive.'' But McCarthy said they'll have to see how he recovers this week before deciding on his availability. ... DE C.J. Wilson, who has missed the last three games with a knee injury, has extra incentive to return this week. He played at East Carolina with Titans running back Chris Johnson. ``It's been my dream to go and hit the guy,'' Wilson said, grinning. ``We couldn't hit him in practice because he wore the red jersey and you didn't want to hurt your star player, but now that he's on the opposing team, I'd like to get my shot at him.''

---

Online:http://pro32.ap.org/poll andhttp://twitter.com/AP-NFL

Quick Links

Nationals sign reliever Kyle Finnegan to major-league deal

Nationals sign reliever Kyle Finnegan to major-league deal

The Nationals announced their first move toward rebuilding their bullpen for the 2020 season Sunday, signing right-hander Kyle Finnegan to a major-league deal.

Finnegan, 28, became a free agent for the first time this winter after seven seasons in the Oakland Athletics’ minor-league system. The A’s drafted him in the sixth round of the 2013 Draft out of Texas State, originally developing him as a starter until converting him into a reliever in 2016.

Oakland granted Finnegan an invite to Spring Training ahead of last season, but he never made his way onto the team’s 40-man roster. His breakout season was in 2019, when the organization asked him to lower his arm slot to generate more movement on his pitches.

Finnegan posted a 2.66 ERA with 14 saves over 42 appearances for AA-Midland and AAA-Las Vegas last year. His fastball has touched triple digits in the past but sits in the mid-to-upper 90s. His newfound success has also seen him rack up more strikeouts, as evidenced by his K/9 that jumped from 9.7 in 2018 to 12.8 in 2019.

Prior to signing with Washington, Finnegan joined the Aguilas Cibaenas of the Dominican Winter League. He has a 2.31 ERA in 14 appearances so far this winter.

The Nationals’ 40-man roster now sits at 30 with the addition of Finnegan following non-tenders of Javy Guerra and Koda Glover. It will move up to 32 once the signings of Yan Gomes and Howie Kendrick are made official. The move comes less than 12 hours before the MLB Winter Meetings are scheduled to begin in San Diego.

MORE NATIONALS NEWS:

Blair scores 21 to lift Georgetown over SMU

patrick-ewing-hoyas-usat.jpg
USA TODAY Sports Images

Blair scores 21 to lift Georgetown over SMU

DALLAS — Jahvon Blair matched his career-high with 21 points as Georgetown defeated SMU 91-74 on Saturday night.

Mac McClung had 19 points and seven assists for Georgetown (6-3). Omer Yurtseven added 19 points and Jamorko Pickett had 11 for the visitors.

Kendric Davis had 17 points for the Mustangs (8-1), whose eight-game season-opening winning streak ended. Feron Hunt added 17 points. Tyson Jolly had 16 points and six rebounds.

Georgetown plays Syracuse at home next Saturday. SMU takes on Georgia on the road next Friday.

MORE NCAAB NEWS: