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Jets’ Aaron Rodgers says Giants’ Jihad Ward is making stuff up

FLORHAM PARK, NJ — The war of words between the New York Jets and New York Giants escalated Thursday, with Jets quarterback Aaron Rodgers hitting back at Giants outside linebacker Jihad Ward.

“He thought we were making fun of his teammate? That never happened and I think he’s making up some bullshit,” Rodgers said. “I do not care.”

On Wednesday, Ward took umbrage at Rodgers and the Jets, accusing them of laughing after Randall Cobb presented safety Bobby McCain with an illegal blind block that left him with a concussion in Saturday’s preseason game.

The scene was captured on HBO’s “Hard Knocks,” with Rodgers & Co. laughing in the group as the quarterback harassed Cobb about the expected NFL penalty and fine. Ward, miffed, said he fought back minutes later with a late push from Rodgers after making a pass, sparking a heated exchange between the two.

This was also seen in “Hard Knocks”. It’s the new normal for the Jets, who have enjoyed intense media coverage since the Rodgers trade in April. It actually dates back to March, when Rodgers – the former Green Bay Packers icon – declared his intention to play for the Jets.

“We got a lot of attention – before we did ‘Hard Knocks’,” Rodgers said. “Then we did ‘Hard Knocks’, so there’s some jealousy, for sure. There’s a lot of people jumping on the bandwagon or jumping [off] the other side.”

In a wide-ranging interview, Rodgers spoke about the high expectations surrounding the team, suggesting the heightened attention has been a drag for some outside the organization.

“Obviously there’s a lot of expectation,” Rodgers said, adding the Jets have “a legitimate chance” of reaching the Super Bowl. “A lot of people will push us to fall flat — crows like [Robert] Saleh referred to it’ – a reference to the coach’s opening speech in ‘Hard Knocks’, in which he spoke to players about opponents.

“A lot of people are on our side as well,” Rodgers said. “Which is a good thing.”

Rodgers, 39, who is preparing for his 19th season, said he enjoys being in the spotlight, while insisting he doesn’t pay attention to “negative energy”. He said he was unaware of Ward’s comments. It was only after reporters recounted Ward’s reaction that he offered his point of view.

The Jets and Giants meet in Week 8 on October 29.

“A lot of eyes will be on us,” Rodgers said of the upcoming season. “It could be pressure for some people, it could be expectation, it could be enthusiasm. I choose to think of it as enthusiasm. There are a lot of people who are going to be listening, a lot a lot of people are going to follow throughout our season. A lot of people are going to have something to cheer about, I think.

Rodgers said the Jets were “really talented,” but declined to compare them to his best Green Bay teams. Earlier in the day, general manager Joe Douglas, speaking to reporters for the first time since the draft, declined to give his personal expectations for the season.

“We’re excited to be part of the conversation as one of the best teams in the league, but enthusiasm doesn’t win games,” he said. “We have a lot to prove.”


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