David Bakhtiari is a little bit ahead of schedule in return from a torn anterior cruciate ligament that ended his 2020 season and put a huge dent in the Green Bay Packers Super Bowl hopes last December. The All-Pro left tackle was working with the other rehabbing players during Wednesday’s OTA in Green Bay.
“Anytime you have a veteran like that out there at practice I think it just kind of lifts everybody up,” coach Matt LaFleur said. “He’s really working hard. I think he came back and he’s in excellent shape. We’re just going to take it one day at a time. I think he’s a little bit ahead of schedule but then again there’s a long way until the start of the season. We’ll see where he’s at when it comes to that time.”
Bakhtiari went down in practice Dec. 31. Three weeks later, quarterback Aaron Rodgers was under constant pressure in the NFC title game as Tampa Bay upset the Packers and went on to win the Super Bowl. Getting Bakhtiari back on the field as early in the 2021 season as possible would be ideal but they won’t rush it.
“There are a lot of people that are involved in that decision. David is certainly one of them,” LaFleur said. “I know he’s a guy that loves to push himself and I know he’s chomping at the bit to be out there with his teammates, but ultimately sometimes you’ve got to protect these guys from themselves. I think that’s just the mentality he has. That’s why he is the player that he is today. We’ll be smart about it.”
No Aaron Rodgers again
Most of the guys that did not attend last week’s OTAs were missing again this week. That included, as expected, quarterback Aaron Rodgers. He and the front office remain at odds, with Rodgers reportedly telling the club he does not want to return to the team in 2021.
LaFleur has been adamant about wanting Rodgers back, while GM Brian Gutekunst has maintained they will not trade the 2020 NFL MVP.
“I’ve got nothing to update on that situation,” LaFleur said. “You guys all know how we feel about it.”
To this point all offseason activities have been voluntary. That changes next week with the mandatory minicamp when Rodgers can be fined for not attending. That’s unlikely to bother him seeing as he gave up a $500,000 workout bonus already by not taking part in 85% or more of the offseason program.
“Yeah, I don’t know,” LaFleur said when asked if Rodgers would be there. “We’ll see come Tuesday.”
Rodgers top five wide receivers — Davante Adams, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Allen Lazard, Equanimeous St. Brown and Devin Funchess — also were missing for a second straight week.