The Green Bay Packers will be without Aaron Rodgers for Sunday’s game against Kansas City and potentially next week’s game against Seattle.
As first reported by the NFL Network, the reigning NFL MVP tested positive for COVID-19. Because he is considered unvaccinated by the NFL, Rodgers will be forced to miss at least 10 days. The earliest he could return would be Nov. 13, the day before the Packers are scheduled to host the Seahawks. To return at that point, he must be asymptomatic and test negative twice within 24 hours.
Rodgers was asked in late August if he had been vaccinated and he replied, “Yeah, I’ve been immunized.” He went on to say, “There’s guys on the team who haven’t been vaccinated. I think it’s a personal decision, and I’m not going to judge those guys.”
However, according to the NFL Network, Rodgers is not vaccinated. The network said he attempted to get the NFL to consider him vaccinated after he underwent homeopathic treatments with his personal doctor to raise his antibody levels. After consultation between the NFL, the NFL Players Association and a joint team of medical and health advisors, the petition was denied. The league has considered him unvaccinated throughout the season.
Unvaccinated players are treated differently than vaccinated players, including having to wear masks or PPE when inside the facility at all times.
“In our building? Absolutely,” coach Matt LaFleur said when asked if rules were being followed in the building. “I can only speak to our football space, but yeah, absolutely. We’ve got cameras everywhere. I think our guys do an outstanding job with it. It’s unfortunate and it’s not like this thing can’t happen to anybody. It’s happened to a lot of people outside of this building.”
There are also significant restrictions on activities outside of football for unvaccinated players, including not being in groups of more than three other players. Rodgers has been photographed multiple times in the last few months spending time with other players outside the facility, including a game night with Davante Adams, Randall Cobb, David Bakhtiari, Marcedes Lewis and their significant others. He also celebrated Bakhtiari’s 30th birthday party with teammates and most recently took part in a Halloween party that included quite a few players.
The NFL released a statement late in the afternoon on the situation.
With Rodgers out, and practice squad quarterback Kurt Benkert also testing positive, the only healthy quarterback on the roster is Jordan Love. The second-year quarterback was at the Halloween party, too, but so far has not tested positive. The Packers will be holding their breath that he doesn’t and he’ll be able to make his first career start. Whether he’s ready for the bright lights remains to be seen.
“We’ll find out, right?” LaFleur said. “I know he’s been working hard everyday.”
Love was the only quarterback on the practice field Wednesday but that is expected to change. ESPN was the first to report that Blake Bortles is going to be signed to the team’s practice squad and will be eligible to be elevated to the active roster for Sunday. Bortles spent a few weeks during the offseason program with the Packers.