Aaron Rodgers continues to be a giant puzzle for the Packers

Murphy might want a mulligan on that one. Rodgers, 37, still plays well and the Packers are 7-1 with seven straight wins heading into Sunday’s showdown against Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs.

But Rodgers turns out to be a giant puzzle. It’s one thing to threaten to retire, ask for a trade, skip the offseason schedule, threaten to hang in there and rant at your bosses at a rambling press conference, like Rodgers did. did this year. It’s another to embarrass yourself and put your organization in hot water like Rodgers did last week.

Rodgers tested positive for COVID-19 on Wednesday and will need to be absent for at least 10 days because the NFL does not consider him fully vaccinated. That means he misses the Chiefs game and could miss next week’s game against the Seahawks. At best, if he’s in perfect health, Rodgers can return to the squad next Saturday and play against Seattle without training all week.

Isn’t Rodgers fully vaccinated, you ask? He certainly gave that impression during a press conference at training camp. When asked directly if he was vaccinated, Rodgers replied, “Yes, I have been immunized. But Rodgers was parsing the words – instead of getting one of the approved vaccines, Rodgers opted for alternative treatment, according to ESPN. The NFL has rejected Rodgers’ request to be considered fully vaccinated, meaning he has been subject to tighter restrictions on team premises and in public.

At that August press conference, Rodgers was trying to portray himself as a responsible citizen by claiming he was “immune” and also as a good teammate by standing up for those who don’t want to be vaccinated.

Instead, Rodgers is now revealed to be selfish, a liar and a poor leader who puts himself before his team. He’s another disconnected superstar who doesn’t think the rules should apply to him.

Rodgers is also a hypocrite – he once pulled out of a restaurant partnership with Ryan Braun in 2013 over the baseball player’s PED incidents.

“It’s not great to be told a lie,” Rodgers said.

While the public was not aware of Rodgers’ unvaccinated status, the Packers would have been aware, and Rodgers has apparently complied with many protocols, such as daily COVID testing.

But Rodgers definitely made it look like he was fully vaccinated. He flaunted the league’s mask policy, holding nearly all of his press conferences indoors, without a mask. He was also at a Halloween party last week without a mask. There were potentially more violations if there were at least three teammates or more than 15 people inside. Each violation is punishable by a minimum fine of $ 14,650.

The NFL said it was investigating Rodgers and the Packers, and the responsibility for enforcing the protocol rests with the teams. NFL rules state that “clubs are required to keep copies of CCTV from their facilities and training areas for a period of at least 30 days.” Last year, several teams, including the Patriots, received six-figure fines for breaking protocols, and the Saints and Raiders were also held up in the sixth-round draft.

But the big fines for the team and Rodgers (likely) and the potential loss of a late-round draft pick (not as likely) are almost irrelevant. More importantly, Rodgers’ decisions hurt his team. The Packers won’t have their most important player for Sunday’s showdown against the Chiefs.

It’s certainly possible that Rodgers still got sick even though he had one of the approved vaccines. However, vaccines have been shown to be an important barrier to infection.

Because he is considered unvaccinated by the NFL, Rodgers also endangered next week’s game against Seattle (pun intended) thanks to the minimum 10-day absence. If Rodgers were vaccinated, the NFL would allow Rodgers to return whenever he is healthy, with no minimum of 10 days.

The Packers have a 3½ game lead in NFC North, so they are essentially assured of one of the top four seeds in the playoffs. But only one team gets a first-round pass and a field advantage. The Packers 7-1 run closely with the Cardinals (7-1), Rams (7-1), Cowboys (6-1) and Bucs (6-2). All it takes is one slip.

The Packers will have at least one game with Jordan Love as quarterback to see where he stands in his development. But if they go 0-2 and ruin their No.1 seed hopes, it’s all up to Rodgers.

Rodgers and the Packers were already rushing to divorce in 2022 after the events of this offseason. This episode may have dug the corner even deeper.

Rodgers would be furious if the news of his unvaccinated status leaked this week. When the NFL places a player on the COVID list, it does not announce their vaccine status. But NFL Network immediately had Rodgers’ unvaccinated status in its initial report on Wednesday, via an anonymous supply. My hunch is that the Packers are frustrated with Rodgers refusing to get the shot, which led to this embarrassing and potentially damaging episode.

Rodgers is still playing well this year and the Packers are still up for the Super Bowl. But Murphy must have doubts about not trading Rodgers ahead of the draft and getting a head start on the Love era. Rodgers was just a giant puzzle.

NOTE: The rest of this week’s Sunday football ratings will be released at a later date.

Ben Volin can be contacted at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @BenVolin.

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