In a surprising turn of events during the Giants-Jets preseason game on Saturday night, defensive tackle Jihad Ward pushed superstar quarterback Aaron Rodgers in what appeared to be a late retaliation. Ward recently revealed that his actions were a direct response to Rodgers' mocking of him during a mic'd-up exchange that was featured on HBO's "Hard Knocks." What infuriated Ward even more was Rodgers' laughter and apparent endorsement of a blind-side hit by Jets receiver Randall Cobb on Giants cornerback Bobby McCain, which resulted in McCain suffering a concussion and being unable to practice.
The tension between Rodgers and Ward was captured on the latest episode of "Hard Knocks," where Rodgers can be seen and heard expressing his frustration towards Ward. He questioned Ward's actions and demanded respect, stating, "That's f-king bulls-, bro. What the f-k is that? Show some respect. C'mon, what the f-k is that? Five damn steps." Rodgers later admitted that he didn't even know who Ward was, to which Ward responded, "I don't know who you are, bro. I don't know who the f-k you are!" The heated exchange continued with Rodgers declaring, "Bulls-t."
After days of anticipation, Ward finally spoke about the incident during a press conference after practice. He explained that his actions were motivated by his determination to protect his teammates and prevent them from being knocked over. Ward strongly criticized Cobb and Rodgers for their involvement in the hit and their subsequent laughter, labeling it as cheap and unacceptable. He expressed his frustration with HBO's portrayal of the incident, believing that they would only show Rodgers' side of the story and make him look like a "sucker." However, Ward asserted that he would not back down and emphasized that he was the only one standing up for McCain.
The upcoming matchup between the Jets and Giants on October 29 has now gained even more significance due to the animosity between Ward and Rodgers. Both teams will undoubtedly bring their A-game, and the clash will serve as an opportunity for Ward to confront Rodgers directly. Despite the intense rivalry brewing, Ward expressed that his main focus is on the regular season opener against Dallas, and he doesn't pay much attention to the Jets.
While the Giants have been relatively quiet during training camp, the hype surrounding the Jets and Rodgers' Super Bowl aspirations have dominated the local football scene. The incident between Ward and Rodgers has injected some much-needed excitement, providing a glimpse of the passion and intensity that will come with the upcoming regular season. Football fans eagerly anticipate the true action that will commence on September 10 for the Giants and September 12 for the Jets, leading up to their highly anticipated clash on October 29 at MetLife Stadium.