Aaron Rodgers is still hoping to clear COVID-19 protocol in time to rejoin the Green Bay Packers for Week 10’s home game against the Seattle Seahawks, but even he admits there is a “small possibility” it won’t happen.
Rodgers is eligible to be activated from the reserve/COVID-19 list for the first time on Saturday, November 13, which is 10 days from when he first tested positive for the virus and one day before the Packers host the Seahawks for a showdown at Lambeau Field. Naturally, the three-time MVP quarterback told The Pat McAfee Show he is “excited” about the prospect of getting back on the field with his teammates after finding it “hard to watch” them play without out him in Kansas City this past week.
“It’s hard to be away from the team,” Rodgers said during his November 9 interview. “I’d rather be on the sidelines not playing than watching from home. There definitely is a different perspective with the camera views and some of those things. … But yeah, I don’t want to miss any more games. It’s hard to watch.”
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Rodgers Hoping to Ensure Heart is Healthy
As good as Rodgers says he feels right now, though, there are some hurdles for him to clear before he can officially come back to the Packers. According to the NFL’s COVID-19 protocols for the 2021 season, unvaccinated players who test positive are required to pass a cardiac screening and must have spent at least 24 hours without a fever while not taking any fever-reducing medications. Additionally, Rodgers will need the team’s primary physician to sign off on his return before he can be activated.
Beyond the return protocols, Rodgers said he will also be taking stock of his own health as he builds up to his potential return date, making sure that his 10 days of isolation and avoiding high-intensity workouts have not set him back in any way.
“I think there’s a possibility, but a small possibility,” Rodgers said of potentially not getting cleared to play against Seattle in Week 10, adding on a follow-up question: “I just do believe there’s a health hurdle (to clear) as far as like movement and sweating and getting into it and making sure my body is, especially heart, is fine with physical exertion.
“I’m just going to start working out. I’ve been doing some walking and yoga and I’ll just amp it up this week and do some higher physical exertion throughout the week and conditioning and hopefully feel great on Saturday, go throughout the walkthrough and then be ready to roll.”
Another Look at Love Could Benefit Packers
From the sounds of things, Rodgers seems pretty optimistic about the possibility of playing against the Seahawks this weekend, and that’s good news for the Packers after their seven-game winning streak was snapped during his absence. He is the primary leader of their offense and locker room and can make adjustments and throws that few other passers in the league are capable of making.
If the Packers are forced to play face the Seahawks without Rodgers, though, there is plenty of long-term value in getting another look at 2020 first-rounder Jordan Love.
Love, understandably, had some nerves in his first career NFL start for the Packers against the Chiefs. He finished the game 19 of 34 passing with 190 yards, one touchdown and one interception, leading a confident scoring drive in the first quarter to get Green Bay its first points but falling short of his victory at the helm. Still, a second consecutive week as the starter might allow him to better settle in and would give the Packers another chance to assess his capabilities as a possible long-term option.
The Packers will have a decision to make regarding their quarterback situation next offseason. Rodgers will have a cap hit of more than $46 million for the 2022 season, an impossible amount for the team to carry but workable if they agree to terms on a new contract for him. Love will also be entering the third year of his rookie contract at an ideal time for him to take the reins — if the Packers find him worthy, that is.
Then again, winning is the most important thing for any team, and there’s no doubt that Rodgers gives the Packers a greater chance to win games than Love at this point. Even with a future to diagnose and a four-game lead in the division, the choice has got to be Rodgers if he is 100% and ready to play against Seattle.