GREEN BAY – One guy wasn't sure if he'd make it out of his rookie training camp. The other looked like he belonged from Day 1.
Tim Harris and Greg Jennings will be inducted into the Packers Hall of Fame next September, and the two players from very different eras of Packers football expressed their gratitude for the honor Tuesday.
Harris was a fourth-round draft pick in 1986 out of Memphis State who played five seasons in Green Bay. He told the story of how, as an outside linebacker in training camp, he wasn't executing his pass-coverage responsibility against the tight end very well.
Luckily, head coach Forrest Gregg didn't try to make him into something he wasn't.
"He looked at me and told me to go down and rush the passer, and if I didn't do good there, I was going to be on the next bus home to Memphis," Harris said, letting out a hearty laugh.
"Forrest Gregg drilled into me how to play football, hard-nosed."
Harris went on to record 55 sacks in five seasons, a total that ranks fourth in team history since sacks became an official statistic in 1982. His 19½ sacks in 1989 earned a Pro Bowl bid and set a single-season franchise record that still stands.
"I thought somebody had beaten that by now," he said, laughing again. "That's very good to hear that's still up there."
Jennings, a second-round draft pick in 2006 out of Western Michigan, was a smooth route-runner from the day he stepped onto an NFL practice field.
A productive target right away for Brett Favre and then Aaron Rodgers, Jennings over seven years went on to catch 53 touchdowns, plus six more in the postseason.
The two-time Pro Bowler is most remembered for his two-TD performance in Super Bowl XLV, which also included one of the most iconic receptions in team history, a play that epitomized Jennings' smoothness and sure hands.
With the Packers leading the Steelers by just three points in the fourth quarter, a third-and-5 turned into a third-and-10 from the Green Bay 25-yard line after a false start. Then Jennings caught a laser-like throw from Rodgers over the middle for 31 yards, leading to a field goal that helped seal the win.
"Being involved in that game, understanding the climate of where we were in that moment … being in the huddle and your quarterback Aaron looking at me and telling me, 'I'm coming to you, … '" Jennings said, recalling the big play.
"In that moment where momentum was shifting, no doubt, and to be able to run the route, make the play collectively as a whole, and shift that momentum back into our favor … It was the biggest catch of my career, hands down."