When the New York Jets were selected as the subject of “Hard Knocks,” the eyes of the NFL turned toward Aaron Rodgers.
Rodgers, who was traded to New York in April, is preparing for his first season outside of Green Bay after 18 seasons.
“Hard Knocks” gives fans of the NFL a close-up look at the four-time MVP, with mic’d-up moments bound to go viral.
JETS’ AARON RODGERS HITS GIANTS LINEBACKER WITH ‘UN-COME-BACK-WITH-ABLE’ TRASH TALK
One of those moments occurred during Saturday’s preseason game against the New York Giants, Rodgers’ first preseason game since 2018, when Giants linebacker Jihad Ward hit Rodgers after a pass.
Rodgers did not appreciate the shove, taking a dig at Ward, saying, “I don’t even know who you are, bro.”
On Wednesday, Ward responded to the video going viral, saying the interaction with Rodgers was due to an illegal blindside block from Jets wide receiver Randall Cobb on Giants safety Bobby McCain and the way the Jets reacted to the hit. Rodgers was heard needling Cobb for the hit on “Hard Knocks” when he returned to the huddle.
McCain left the game and was diagnosed with a concussion.
Ward was upset Rodgers, Cobb and other members of the Jets were “laughing” when his teammate got hurt, according to SNY.
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“Everybody going to get p—– off at that. The whole team was p—– off, you know what I’m saying?” Ward said. “It’s preseason and all that stuff, and you’re going to do some reaction like that?
“It’s cool, though. That’s how they roll. I think we play them soon, it is what it is.”
On Thursday, Rodgers responded, indicating they were not laughing at McCain being hurt.
“So, he thought we were laughing at his teammate?” Rodgers said, according to the New York Post. “That never happened, and I think he’s making s— up.”
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Ward did not appreciate the way his interaction with Rodgers was portrayed on “Hard Knocks.”
“See, the thing is, they’re going to entertain. They’re going to show his part — HBO, whatever stuff is going on, ‘Hard Knocks.’ They’re going to show his part,” Ward said, per ESPN.
“They weren’t even in the whole scenario of what really went down. They’re going to show his side of the story. … It’s all about Aaron Rodgers at the [end] of the day. They sign him, it is what it is. They’re going to show his part and make me look like a sucker. But I ain’t going for that.”
“My side of the story is I’m not going to let none of my teammates be backed down like that,” he said. “I’m going to ride for my teammates.”
The Giants open the 2023 season against the Dallas Cowboys, and the Jets welcome the Buffalo Bills to MetLife Stadium in Week 1. The Jets and Giants meet in the regular season Oct. 29.