Greg Jennings, hero of the greatest Madden highlight ever, retires from the NFL (Update)

Greg Jennings, the Green Bay Packers receiver immortalized in the greatest Madden NFL highlight of all time, is retiring from the National Football League.

In 2009, the year of his appearance in Madden NFL 10, Greg Jennings had blossomed into Green Bay’s top receiving threat with the first 1,000-yard receiving season of his career. And though Jennings would go on to consecutive Pro Bowl appearances in 2010 and 2011, winning a Super Bowl ring in the latter, he may be best remembered for this play (warning: VERY strong language), one of the greatest and gutsiest run-up-the-score touchdowns in Madden NFL history.

The clip, shot by Demetry James of Miami, became a viral sensation and despite its coarse language (particularly the dismissal of his friend and humiliated opponent, Gumby) entered Madden lore. An achievement named for the highlight was put into Madden NFL 11, awarding 50 Gamerscore or a silver trophy for completing a 99-yard touchdown pass with Jennings.

Update: EA Sports noted Jennings’ retirement in a statement to Talkgamer and congratulated him on his successful career. “While we’re sad to hear that Greg Jennings will no longer be putting da team on his back, we’ll always appreciate everything he did throughout his career,” a representative said. “Greg’s an amazing player, and we wish him all the best in retirement.”

Jennings himself acknowledged the notoriety, always graciously and cheerfully. In the 2011 Super Bowl’s notorious media day, he was asked about the clip and launched into an impression of James’ call, sans profanity. Jennings said opposing teams would try to taunt him on the field, challenging him to “put da team on your back, doe.”

“We played Atlanta in the divisional round [in 2011] and … one of their safeties, every single play … I don’t care if he made the play or if he’s next to it, he’s like ‘Greeeeeeeg Jennings. Put da team on your back, doe,'” Jennings said in an appearance on The George Lopez Show after the Packers won Super Bowl 45.

“I’m like, we are playing your team,” Jennings said, “what are you talking about?”

Jennings played seven years with the Green Bay Packers before joining Minnesota for two seasons and then Miami — Demetry James’ home — in his final season. His best season came in 2010: 1,265 receiving yards on 76 receptions and 12 touchdowns.

His longest touchdown catch in real life was for 86 yards in 2010. But Jennings’ greatest feat will always be that 99-yarder on a broken leg with time running out and, even though the Packers led the Saints by 22, he put da team on his back and did it, for Madden.

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