Aaron Rodgers set to return to action for Packers after unvaccinated star finishes up 10-day quarantine
Aaron Rodgers, the vaccine dodger, is poised to get back to work for the Green Bay Packers.
Rodgers, who played fast and loose with the English language over the summer when talking about his vaccination status, has done everything he needs to do to satisfy league protocols and get back under center when the Packers host the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday, ESPN reported.
The three-time NFL MVP finished up his league-mandated 10-day quarantine for unvaccinated players on Saturday after he tested positive for the coronavirus on Nov. 3. He has reportedly remained asymptomatic and passed a required cardiac test and is eligible to come off the reserve/COVID list. Rodgers participated virtually in team meetings all week.
“He’s been in every meeting,” Packers head coach Matt LaFleur told reporters. “He’s been engaged. So, it’s just he’s not with his guys out on the field. … [Rodgers] has played a ton of ball, so we’re pretty confident that, provided he checks out well, he can go out there and play at a high level.”
The final hurdle for Rodgers to play Sunday is for the Packers to activate him by the 4 p.m. ET deadline, per ESPN.
Rodgers, now in his 14th season as the starter in Green Bay, had led the Packers to a 7-1 record before his positive test knocked him out of a Week 9 showdown against the Kansas City Chiefs.
Despite trying to fool the public in August (”Yes, I’m been immunized”), and violating COVID protocols agreed to by the league and its players’ union to keep everyone safe during a global public health crisis, Rodgers was fined just $14,650 for his actions. The fine was for the star quarterback not wearing a mask during news conferences and for attending a Halloween party. Unvaccinated players aren’t allowed to gather in groups of more than three. The team was fined $300,000.
Rodgers, 37, claimed in an interview on “The Pat McAfee Show” after his positive test outed him as being unvaccinated that he wasn’t against vaccines in general (”Look, I’m not some sort of anti-vax, flat-Earther”), just the ones available for COVID. He said he was allergic to an ingredient in the Pfizer and Moderna jabs and was wary of the Johnson & Johnson version because of fertility concerns.
Instead, he tried to convince the NFL over the summer that his approach to his own “long term immunization protocol” should count as having been vaccinated. The league sacked that idea.
Rodgers — who said he turned to podcaster Joe Rogan for advice, along with a team of “MDs, holistic doctors, different people” — said he was fighting COVID with a cocktail of unproven remedies, including monoclonal antibodies, Ivermectin, zinc, Vitamin C and D and (hydroxychloroquine).
In his return appearance on former NFL punter Pat McAfee’s show earlier this week he offered up a half-hearted apology.
“I made some comments that people might have felt were misleading,” he said. “To anybody who felt misled by those comments, I take full responsibility for those comments.”
Without Rodgers under center against the Chiefs — which pushed second-year QB Jordan Love into the starting lineup for the first time — the Packers suffered a 13-7 loss in Kansas City last week. Love, drafted in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft, threw for 190 yards on 19-of-34 passing with a touchdown and an interception.
If Rodgers is able to play, it will produce a marquee QB matchup at Lambeau Field as Seahawks (3-5) star Russell Wilson was activated off injured reserve on Friday. Wilson missed three games with a middle finger injury to his throwing hand.
As for Rodgers, he’d like nothing more than to let his play on the field do the talking.