Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers announced Monday that he will be returning to play in Wednesday night’s NFC Championship Game rematch against the Philadelphia Eagles. Rodgers and the Packers returned from the injury during a pregame workout last week and have been practicing daily in preparation for their second-round playoff game at home.
“It’s been an amazing journey, and it’s been awesome to be able to do something I love to do,” Rodgers said in a video on his website Sunday. “That being said, I’ve just got to clear the air on something that’s been a topic of conversation the last couple of days. I know a lot of you were wondering about something that happened during a week one game and I thought maybe it would be a good time to update you on that.
“The reason why I can’t be at practice (Tuesday) is I tested positive for a virus. I’m not allowed to be with the team, but I can clear up a lot of the speculation and questions that have been out there.”
Rodgers, who said it was “concerning” that speculation of him quitting “started almost before we left New England,” said he hoped the “couple of minutes of gossip” would “make a little more sense” to his teammates when they see his statement.
Rodgers said his “intentions were not to leave the team.” He also said that “I’m not done playing football for the Packers.”
Coach Mike McCarthy said Rodgers “felt fine, but he did come out and test positive for a virus. Aaron said he has had an off day, so he has some things that he has to clear up. In terms of having him available for this Sunday, he’ll be out here.”
McCarthy added, “He said his intentions were to be out here to play the game, it’s just precautionary. I anticipate he’ll be back out here [Tuesday] with the team.”
During the Super Bowl appearance last season, Rodgers suffered a fractured left collarbone. After spending a week and a half in a cast and then wearing a protective pad, Rodgers was cleared to practice before the regular-season opener.
Rodgers was hurt in a 17-9 win over the Chicago Bears on Sept. 25, but said he suffered the injury “the first drive of the game, back when I caught the (Matt) Barkley pass and it kind of sprung my collarbone back. I just kind of thought it was maybe a bunch of normal adrenaline that would make it heal. A couple of weeks later, it just really wasn’t getting better.”
Chicago quarterback Jay Cutler told ESPN the Week 6 loss was “probably the most frustrating.” He said Rodgers “just looked lost. He had two really bad weeks where he probably didn’t practice much. When he was out there practicing, he looked stiff, he looked slow. He was trying to fight through it, but I don’t think he had the same zip on the ball. It was very much like we saw all year at times when he looked physically, maybe a little wobbly. He definitely left it out there, but he made a huge jump on us, and we’ve been trying to improve from there.”
Green Bay went 7-0 after Rodgers returned to the lineup. The Packers lost their last game, a 33-18 Week 17 loss to the Minnesota Vikings, the day before Rodgers returned.
Rodgers had his second $125,000 fine in three weeks for wearing a Washington Generals jersey. Rodgers was spotted wearing the jersey during a pregame Super Bowl celebration event at Lambeau Field, wearing the “Feb 26” from the short-lived television series that starred character Archie Goodwin.
Former Packers tight end Ryan Taylor was ejected in Week 6, as well as safety Morgan Burnett for wearing a Giants uniform. Last week, the NFL changed its replay rules and eliminated defenseless receivers and hands from the field.
NFL Executive Vice President of Football Operations Troy Vincent said “procedural rule changes give us the ability to modify the manner in which the replay official applies the rule and both provide for more flexible replay review of an officiating call or in determining an on-field offsides. However, we recognize that having replay officials who are capable of immediately reviewing contested plays when the on-field referee deems them critical for a team’s success is one element of the game which has created its own set of challenges.”