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Defensive End Jihad Ward Angry With ‘Hard Knocks’ Portrayal Of Aaron Rodgers Interaction


Jihad Ward, a defensive end for the New York Giants, expressed displeasure with how his encounter with quarterback Aaron Rodgers of the New York Jets was portrayed on “Hard Knocks.” He claimed that his actions were motivated by his displeasure with wide receiver Randall Cobb’s illegal block that caused Giants safety Bobby McCain to sustain a concussion, as well as the Jets’ overall response to the incident.

After Rodgers called out Cobb for the blindside block, “Hard Knocks” showed the Jets players giggling in the team room.

“Everybody going to get pissed off at that. The whole team was pissed 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.”

This creates the conditions for the crosstown rivalry to rekindle. Since Rex Ryan and the Jets attempted to take control of the city more than ten years ago, nothing has been the same.

On October 29, at MetLife Stadium, the Giants and Jets will square off once more. The Jets, who have received a lot of preseason attention, are playing against a team that made the playoffs the previous year but has somehow slipped local notice this summer.

“They know what they did. I know what [Cobb] did, coaches know what he did, my teammates know what he did,” Ward said. “I’m the only one sticking up for [McCain].”

This week, McCain was subject to the concussion protocol.

After practice on Wednesday afternoon, Ward postponed speaking. He kindly declined to get into specifics about his interactions with Rodgers after Friday night’s exhibition game.

He was waiting to hear what Rodgers had to say.

“I kind of bumped him, too. Wait for ‘Hard Knocks,'” Rodgers said after the game. “Some good content.”

On the drive following the Cobb block in the first quarter, Ward gave Rodgers a slight nudge at the conclusion of a play. Face to face, the two could be seen chirping.

On the very next play, Rodgers delivered a 14-yard touchdown throw to Garrett Wilson, sparking another argument between the two.

Tuesday night’s episode of “Hard Knocks” had clips of Rodgers telling Ward that he had no idea who he was. They showed Rodgers saying, among other things, “Don’t poke the bear!” after his touchdown pass.

Ward, who is in his sixth professional season, contributed significantly to the Giants’ victory over Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers in London last year. He didn’t appear to like how the scenario had been edited for the television program.

“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. 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.”

What is Ward’s version of events?

“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.”

When Cobb made the illegal block that sent McClain flying and cost the Jets a 15-yard penalty, Rodgers was seen on “Hard Knocks” slapping Cobb. He realized it wasn’t good right away.

“I couldn’t believe it. I’ve been around Randall Cobb forever. We talk about smart players and doing smart things on the field. I don’t know what was in that. I was watching that in slow motion going, ‘No, no, no Cobby, what are you doing?'” Rodgers said after the game. “We were laughing because that wasn’t a penalty when we started playing. It has been a penalty for a while. So, not the smartest play.

“I said, ‘Bro, you’ve got a third kid on the way. You just took money out of your pocket. You’re going to have to buy [your wife] Aiyda something nice for that.'”

Cobb’s wife Aiyda was seen warning her two young children on “Hard Knocks” that their father might receive a citation for his behavior on the play. Cobb is anticipated to learn the fine’s amount later this week.

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