ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) — Jerry Jeudy had a lot to get off his chest this week: his dust-up with Steve Smith, the constant trade speculation, his lack of production and the Denver Broncos’ incessant losing.
Jeudy pranced and preened in a squabble with Smith, the former Panthers star receiver and current NFL Network analyst, prior to the Broncos’ 19-8 loss at Kansas City last week.
Smith said he tried to apologize to Jeudy for calling him a “JAG,” NFL parlance for “just a guy,” on his podcast earlier this year but that Jeudy would have none of it and responded with a vulgarity.
So, Smith blasted Jeudy anew on air, saying he’d discourage general managers from trading for the former Alabama star who hasn’t lived up to his billing as the highest-drafted receiver in Broncos history, No. 15 overall in 2021.
Jeudy indicated that he didn’t know Smith wanted to apologize to him but defended his reaction nonetheless.
“I don’t got no hate toward Steve Smith. He’s a good player and all the stuff like that,” Jeudy said. “I just stand on what I stand on. You feel me? If you feel some type of way, keep that same energy when you see me in person. …
“One thing I do agree on is I feel like I should have listened to what he had to say,” Jeudy added. “But at the same time, I’m going back to my roots and where I’m from. When somebody talks bad about you behind your back, don’t expect to come to them in person and think everything is going to be OK.”
Jeudy then went out and caught three passes for 14 yards, continuing a slow start to a season where he was expected to serve as Russell Wilson’s primary target in coach Sean Payton’s offense after his strong finish last season, when he caught 45 passes for 523 yards and three touchdowns over the final six weeks.
But Jeudy, who pulled a hamstring late in the preseason and missed the opener, has just 20 catches for 222 yards and no touchdowns in five games as the Broncos have stumbled to a 1-5 start heading into Sunday’s game against Green Bay (2-3).
“I am a first-round pick, so people have high expectations of me, and I have expectations, too,” Jeudy said. “I feel like I am doing what I can do and controlling what I can control.”
Jeudy proposed that he’s getting a bad rap over the Broncos’ poor start, which includes a trio of home losses to underdogs.
“It’s always frustrating when you are losing. Nobody wants to lose, you feel me?” Jeudy said. “Losing is the worst possible thing that can happen. As a receiver, there’s a lot of people we have to depend on. You can be open, but the line don’t do their thing, the quarterback didn’t do their thing, the OC didn’t put you in, there’s a whole lot of stuff that we have to go through as a receiver to be successful.
“At the end of the day, I have to do what I do. People can say look at the stats, look at this, look at that, but the eye in the sky don’t lie. Go watch the film and see what it is.”
Earlier in the week, Payton addressed Jeudy’s slow start and the numerous spats on social media with former Broncos players, along with the Smith dust-up.
“He’s frustrated, I’m sure. He’s a talented player. We need to continue to look for ways to get him throws,” Payton said. “The other stuff, I don’t try to keep track of as long as it’s not a distraction to what we’re doing as a team. That being said, he’s very competitive, he’s smart and he’s a playmaker for us. We have to continue to look for ways to put him in positions to make plays.”
Jeudy, who has nine touchdown catches in 46 career games, has been the subject of trade speculation for more than a year.
“I block all that out. I know how my coaches feel about me, how my teammates feel about me,” Jeudy said. “All these dudes that have their opinions are outside. They have never been in the locker room, never seen me practice. … So, everybody that’s outside, I get annoyed with because they don’t know what’s really going on.”
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