The Packers should let Aaron Rodgers Play All Green Bay Packers All the Time

I am not a doctor. I haven’t seen any scans of Packers QB Aaron Rodgers’ damaged collarbone. I don’t know Packers team physician Dr. Pat McKenzie or coach Mike McCarthy. I didn’t stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night.

In other words, I am completely unqualified to determine whether Rodgers should be allowed to play Sunday when the Packers play the Dallas Cowboys.

But being unqualified has never stopped me before, and it’s not going to stop me on this issue. I believe if Rodgers thinks he can play, he should be allowed to play. From Jason Wilde’s Friday column on the topic:

“Frankly, I think if Aaron was asked the question, he wants to play. He feels he’s ready to play,” McCarthy told reporters Friday in his usual, end-of-the-week post-practice news conference. “Based on what he’s accomplished physically and what he was able to do at practice on Wednesday and Thursday, he’s ready to go.”

So even the coach sounds confident that Rodgers could play. Unless scans show Rodgers’ collarbone to be so fragile that it might crack in half if someone pats his shoulder pads after a touchdown pass, let him play. Why hold him back?

I get that increased risk of re-injury is probably the main concern. I’ve also heard Rodgers speak eloquently about injury risks that come with playing in the NFL. He has a good understanding of the risks he and other players take every time they step on the field. I don’t think he would play if he thought the risk/reward balance of re-injuring his collarbone was totally out of whack.

I applaud the Packers organization for its long-term outlook and putting a player’s safety first when handling injuries. Obviously, you don’t want to put Rodgers out there if the risk of re-injury is off the charts. But in this instance, based on what we know and what has been said publicly, the re-injury risk has declined dramatically and the team sounds like it’s being a little too cautious.

Rodgers took snaps with the first team in practice this week and apparently feels good physically. Also from Wilde’s column:

“The hurdle that I know Aaron wanted to get over, he achieved it this week. He feels really good,” McCarthy said.

So why is he going to carry a clipboard and wear a headset on Sunday?

Rodgers just turned 30 years old. He’s seen teammates Terrance Murphy and Nick Collins have their careers ended after neck injuries. He saw Jermichael Finley suffer a neck injury this year that could end his career. He’s seen countless other teammates have entire seasons and careers cut down after one play resulted in a major injury.

Rodgers has also seen Tom Brady miss an entire season after a blow to his knee. He’s seen Peyton Manning miss a year with a neck injury and numerous other QBs miss significant time.

Even if Rodgers sits until the risk of re-injuring the collarbone is zero, it only takes one fluke play to suffer another major injury to a different part of his body and be back on the sideline. That’s life in the NFL and Rodgers realizes that. Why live in fear of re-injuring the collarbone and not play games you’re capable of playing when the risk of suffering some other type of major injury is always out there no matter when you come back?

It sounds like Rodgers is fine with taking a little extra risk because he knows he takes a risk every time he steps on the field, fully healthy collarbone or not. The Packers should feel the same way, but unfortunately, they don’t.

I get that McCarthy and company are thinking long-term on this issue, but I guarantee Rodgers is thinking long term as well and it sounds like he thinks playing is the best decision for both him, his current team and the long-term future of the Packers.

Perhaps scans show that the collarbone is worse than the Packers and Rodgers are letting on. If that’s the case, the Packers need to tell us that. Because right now, it appears that the team is living in fear of one specific injury when any number of injuries could happen whenever Rodgers returns.

This isn’t an issue of toughness. Rodgers has already proven he’s tough. This isn’t an issue of organizational ineptitude. The Packers have already proven they are one of the best organizations in the NFL. This isn’t an issue of unqualified fans (like me) ranting and raving about either Rodgers’ toughness or how the Packers handle injuries.

This is about a specific injury to the Packers best player and whether he is ready to return or not. Based on everything that has been said, it sounds like Rodgers is ready to go. For some reason, McCarthy and the Packers don’t agree.


Adam Czech is a a freelance sports reporter living in the Twin Cities and a proud supporter of American corn farmers. When not working, Adam is usually writing about, thinking about or worrying about the Packers. Follow Adam on Twitter. Twitter .


52 thoughts on “The Packers should let Aaron Rodgers Play

  1. The Cowboys seem to be weak on defense so perhaps they are thinking they can win this on with Flynn and get Rodgers all of the first team practice reps for next week. Although I want to see Rodgers back, in my dreams I see Flynn leading the Packers to victory in Seattle which would be the ultimate irony.

    1. The Packers had to scratch and claw just to put up 22 points against a bad Falcons D. The Cowboys D is also bad, but I still don’t think the Packers can get to 30 points.

      And they’ll need to hit at least 30 if they want to win Sunday. The Cowboys offense in the Jerry Dome is a whole lot faster than the Packers D.

      1. The key is that Dallas is #3 in the league in +/-, even with that lousy defense. Without that, I can’t imagine they’d be in the hunt to win that division. If the Packers can’t force some TOs against Dallas, I don’t see them winning.

        1. I predict Flynn is going to throw at least 2 interceptions and there will be one fumble. The packer defense (secondary) can’t stop a grandma with a cane. They barley feat a terrible team at home in nasty conditions. They do not have the talent to compete with Dallas on their home field. The only way they could win is if they get several turnovers and do not make any as in 0 mistakes. Not a good bet.

  2. I’m with you Adam, I don’t really get it. Last week he felt pain and this week he doesn’t. We were told that he needed to be able to go through the week pain free, and the scan would be done Friday. The thing that gets me is from every report I’ve read, they never did a scan. What are they basing this decision on, last weeks scan?

    1. MM said “there had not been a scan TODAY”.
      That was on FRIDAY

      Wilde reported that there was a scan… it happened on THURSDAY.

      Dude’s bone isn’t ready.

      I’m puzzled by everyone’s puzzlement.

      1. Clearly this is Dr McKenzie’s decision, not McCarthy or Rodgers. If McKenzie doesn’t think the bone is healed enough he won’t clear Rodgers. There is nothing that McCarthy or Rodgers can do if McKenzie doesn’t clear him.

        I’m frustrated as much as anyone. I think at this point the risk is minimal compared to the Reward, but its not mine or anyone else’s call. It purely the Dr. decision.

        Come on Flynn pull us another W!

        1. Of course Aaron wants to play. Thats what players do. He isn’t a Doc.

          Of course MM will say that aAaron is game ready ‘except for the medical clearance.’ Aaron has been in meetings all along and has been in NON CONTACT (note the emphasis) practices for a couple of weeks now.

          As far as this:

          “Perhaps scans show that the collarbone is worse than the Packers and Rodgers are letting on. If that’s the case, the Packers need to tell us that.”

          Isn’t that exactly what the Packers are saying? Rodgers is not *MEDICALLY* cleared. Why is Rodgers not medically cleared? Because the collarbone is NOT READY FOR CONTACT.

          Broken collarbones are a 6-8 week injury. We are now in Week 7.

          And no, I don’t “like” that either. But our likes and dislikes have no impact (and should have no impact) on a MEDICAL decision.


    2. They know the team sucks and why risk Rodgers getting injured in a futile attempt. You don’t drive a new corvette in a snow storm and you don’t play Rodgers in a loosing game with a loosing team.

    3. Clearly you misunderstood. Pain wasn’t preventing him from playing last week or this week! There are ways to deal w/ and alleviate pain. Players play in pain every game of every week. The issue is bone regeneration and the Dr interpretation of the scan. Clearly the Dr didn’t see enough from the bone scan to clear Rodgers. Nothing McCarthy or Rodgers said or did was going to affect the Dr’s medical decision.

    4. My opinion is the least popular of that I’m sure – sit Rogers’ for the remainder of the season. Why bring him back with the postseason lost. Let him fully heal. In the process have a better draft position. Wounds like I’m giving up – but lets be practical – it a business an in business you need to improve your product or inject new capital….

  3. The Packer organization has gone to far to one side on player injuries. It is creating a “soft” climate in Green Bay.

    1. I couldn’t disagree with you more, John. I hope my post doesn’t come across as criticizing the Packers for creating a soft climate, whatever the hell that means.

      1. A soft climate means players don’t play until they are 100% healthy. I policy no other team has and no football team has ever employed.

        1. John – do you recall when Matthews came back??? He was far from healthy as shown by his play and limited snaps

    1. That is correct but I’m sure everyone wonders why a lite break ( as reported) is now going to take over the usual 6 weeks! I guess I just wish it were him instead of Flynn playing!! Just frustrated I guess; Go Pack!!

  4. I can’t agree with you Adam. Not your best article. Let the Doctors make their decision, and no need to stir the pot of controversy. We all gave up on the season…because of the defense, and the aforementioned coaching game plan/game calling, and Rodgers going down was the final confirmation. So, get reps for the rest of the team, and forget Rodgers coming back to save the team. It sank just after pre-season.

  5. Adam, you typically offer far better reasoning than in this article and I feel that this article merely tries to stoke a controversy where there really shouldn’t be one. This is pretty simple. Rodgers may feel that he can play. But that’s not the test. The test is if there is sufficient medical evidence to show that he can play without a non-trivial risk of re-injury. Rodgers is a $100MM investment by the Packers. I am not surprised that the Packers want to make sure that he is 100% healthy (or as close as necessary) before they put him back on the field. I am sure that the medical staff is under all sorts of pressure. Frankly, the decision is not up to Aaron (and let’s not forget that, although he may really want to play, football culture pressures him to publicly insist that he should play at the soonest possible moment even if it means playing injured or playing “through the pain”). Let the doctors do their job. I suspect that it is very true that the risk of re-injury (including a substantially worse injury) is much higher for a player who is not yet fully healed from an initial injury. In the case of the Packers’ $100MM man, we are going to have to be patient.

  6. I have a feeling this will all be irrelevant.

    If the Pack loses it won’t be because of the offense.

    I think the D steps up.

    24-17 Pack

      1. Thought the same thing. Funny isn’t he? Least optimistic when everyone is most optimistic in the off and Pre season, but most optimistic when others are least. Go figure!

  7. The best reason NOT to play Rodgers: the 2013 offensive line. You don’t think that, given a clean shot (or 7) DeMarcus Ware and Co. wouldn’t try a McClellin Pt. 2? That collarbone has to be AT LEAST 100% healed, because it is officially a target.

    1. “AT LEAST 100% healed”

      …ah,er, is there a way to be MORE THAN 100% healed?

      Adam, (from your previous article) are you trying to add to TT’s slump?

      John, Hayward reinjuring his hammy in his 1st game back contradicts your claim the team waits til a player is 100% before letting a player back in the lineup.

    2. While I do believe the chippy hits on a marginally healthy QB are going to be a little more frequent, I think most DL are out to plant every starting QB they can.

      1. Bubba- I was referring to that elusive “110%” that only the best of the best deliver 😉

        And Dobber, I bet if Ware is approaching ARod with a choice on how to plant him, he chooses left shoulder.

  8. I appreciate your preface, and the premise of the article but I can’t agree that he should play this week. Particularly because the leak was he showed little-to-no progress since the last scan.

    If the bone is not healed (solid bone) he should not play. If that thing gets displaced, he’ll miss the entire off-season right up until the season starts. Is that really what we want?

    If the team cannot win 1 more game for the 1 more week he’s out, they probably don’t deserve to be in the playoffs. The Packers have a chance to make a statement. Lets see if they do it! Again I just wanted to say I appreciate your content/articles Adam, just respectfully disagree in this instance. Keep up the good work

    1. I agree with the comments that disagree with your commentary Adam. First off it’s the doctors decision, not McCarthys or Rogers. If the packer organization thinks their doctors are too conservative, then they should hire some less conservative doctors! Also I don’t think it’s rtoo much to ask for the packers to win 2 games out of 7 without Rogers, agree with epy on that.

  9. Sorry, but I think Adam is in a slump. First the Thompson article and now this. Most of your articles are very good, though.

  10. I’m just going to toss it out there that the Packer organization hasn’t always been very up front with most injuries (which I get, the less their opponents know in the next week the harder it is to plan) So for all we know the collar bone isn’t healing as fast as all of us Packer fans would want.

    Since Rodgers was injured I have “written off” this season – the fact that they are still in it shows the ineptitude of the Bears and Lions who have had plenty of chance to put playoffs out of our reach… I would rather have a healthy Rodgers for next season when hopefully they can get something working on defense than rush him back to the field and hope the defense can pull off miracles if the playoffs are made.

    As for a previous comment about the Packers being soft and waiting for injuries to be 100% healed – did you forget about Matthews??? He came back way to early as you could see by his lackluster play and limited reps.

  11. I’ve been in worse slumps than this one. There was a 6-month stretch in 2002 where every girl I hit on at the bar had a boyfriend already and I ended up losing most of the ensuing fistfights.

    1. Don’t you hate when that happens, that’s why I prefer the drinking contest…. that way even if I don’t win the other guy is a wasted mess

  12. Totally wrong. The Packers should not risk getting Aron Rodgers injured with an injury that may affect the remainder of his career for a game they can’t win. Even if they win they are going no where with the defense they have. Start working on personnel to replace the poor talent in the backfield. think about the draft next year and start playing the backups to see if they have anyone on the roster worth keeping. Capers in done, toast, finished. He had his spin in the league and it is now time to retire him. Start searching for a new Defensive coordinator. The packers are in denial if they think they have any chance to win our and win in the playoff’s.

    1. That’s the thing… Even if he gets hit just right, there is no reason to think that he would even miss training camp. A rebroken collar bone would require surgery and most likely a 4 month rehab. He would miss the offseason program but probably be ready for training camp. Its just not a career threatening injury even w/ a rebreak.

      Apparently you missed the ’10 season. Until they started the winning streak they didn’t look like a team capable of winning thru the playoffs either. If they can find a way to win this week they could go on a 4 game winning streak to end the season, PLUS get their Franchise QB back. I think that would give the Packers the lift that could carry them quite a ways!

  13. I too am surprised Rodgers isn’t play this week. I would love to know what’s going on behind the scenes

  14. The field at Dallas is like cement and numerous players have broken collarbones there.Romo himself and Woodson in the Super Bowl just landing normal.Jerry Jones spends a billion + on his stadium and then goes cheap on the field turf which is the hardest in the NFL,pathetic and not worth Rodgers snapping his bone first game back on that garbage pavement Mr Jones saved a few thousand on with no care for players health.

  15. TT & MM are ass clowns on many things but this isn’t one of them. You don’t put a player in harm’s way with this kind of injury until the doctor tells you he’s healed and ready to go. Besides, as many have suggested, this team is so putrid, why risk AROD’s health. I realize AROD masks many of our ills when he plays but it goes to show you why we have been one and done in crunchtime ever since catching lightning in a bottle in 2010. For God’s sake, oddsmakes have GB a 7 point underdog to a team with the 32nd defense in the league. That should tell you something. Were we to manage to get to the playoffs, it would just be another blowout loss. Defense needs to be rebuilt. Only an ass-clown would offer Raji 8MM. Only an ass-clown would pay T Williams and AJ Hawk, two of the softest players on the team, $36MM each. Only an ass-clown would let C Jenkins and Scott Wells walk, rather than pay them $5MM each. It isn’t that TT doesn’t spend the full cap every year it’s that spends it unwisely by overpaying players he drafted mistakenly high and then he compounds his error by overpaying to keep when their rookie contracts are up. The guy is an ass-clown, no other conclusion is possible. TT is not getting value. No back-up C, no back-up QB. Why? No S? Why? This draft was the year of teh S yet we didn’t take one. Why? Because the ass clown liked who he had – Jennings who totally sucks and Morgan Burnett who just got $26MM and has looked lost and sh*tty all season. Packer fans need to stand up and say they are mad as hell and they aren’t going to take it anymore. Replace the ass-clowns = TT/MM. Lombardi would have fired these ass clowns long ago.

    1. Would’ve been funnier if you said “a ass-clown” but nice work. Ass-hattery is perpetrated by ass-hats; I’d take “ass-clownery” here.

  16. Your first 2 paragraphs were spot on. The rest of this post was malarkey. Aaron Rodgers isn’t a doctor either. All injured players will do &/or say what ever they can to get back on the field ASAP.
    Personally, I’d rather forgo the play offs for one year rather than risk the career of the #1 QB in the NFL! Besides, it’s quiet apparent that the Packers have bigger issues than Aaron Rodgers busted collar bone. IMHO the list starts w/D. Capers. How can a team spens so much time & energy, & have so much talent on D and still stink so bad??? Skeem!

  17. Players in this league come back from injury early all the time. EDS, James Jones and CM3 just to name a few recent Packer injuries. There’s no way the medical staff would say they were 100%. Yet they played anyway. This is why I don’t think it’s strictly the medical staffs call.

    I think the Packers, having seen what life without Rodgers is like, have no interest in risking a long-term injury. By indicating it’s a medical call and out of Rodgers hands, it protects his image while also protecting their long-term asset.

    So, IMO, it is more the Packers brass that is holding Rodgers back(and maybe Rodgers himself) than the medical staff.

  18. No Rodgers tomorrow, no win. The D will give up at least 30pts, on the road. We will have no answer for Dallas’s passing game. Our O scored 16 pts (the last TD was inside the 10 on a strip sack) against a crappy dome team , at home in the snow. Tomorrow on the road, the Flynn lead offense will mustard up 20 pts against another crappy D. Just like the Rodgersless O did against the crappy Bears, Eagles, Giants , Viks D’s.

    I guess MM knows what hes doing by keeping Rodgers out, because in case of the rare possibility that Rodgers was to get hurt and was to break his collar bone on his non throwing shoulder, we would hate to have him miss some golfing and surfing time in the off seasons . If he broke his collar bone tomorrow, he would be back 100% for training camp next year. Lots of people break collar bones and play at 100% the next year. If Rodgers thinks he can play and wants to play, let him. Hes a grown man that understands his options. Hell, Ronnie Lott had his finger cut off so he could play the next week. This is football, when did everyone turn into a wuss? We are not talking about a neck or spine or knee ligament injury here…. I tthink if Rodgers wants to play, then play….I like this article

  19. For 22 million a year, let the guy play and try to beat the hated Cowboys. Even if we get knocked out of the playoffs, winning the Division over the disliked Lions, bears and Viks would be awesome. Every thing is on the line and MM is worried that Rodgers might miss some leisure time in the off season. Rodgers isn’t going to die if he plays, and the chances of him having a career ending collar bone injury on his non throwing shoulder is 1 in a million. 22 million a year folks….I’d take a chance on my collar bone for $1000

  20. Unfortunately, we don’t know the reality of Rodgers status. However, this is his non- throwing collarbone and if he were re injured he would still be ready for next season. Holding him out could be the result of the recent NFL settlement of nearly $800 million with the retired players. Who better than Rodgers to have as the poster boy of how the league is now protecting or taking care of their players’ health. I’m speculating, but anything is possible, especially when big money is involved. Who’s to say that if Rodgers returns he doesn’t have another type of injury. If he is being held out to protect him for next year, it’s ridiculous. No one knows how far this team can go if they make the playoffs, especially with Rodgers. Worry about 2014 when it gets here. I agree with Stroh. We could get hot like 2010. BTW, Archie, we were not one and done in 2012. We beat the Vikes in the 1st round before losing to the 49ers. Check your facts. Thanks, Since ’61

  21. I love this egg on my face..5 TDs in the 2nd half! Yeah….still need rodgers to close out the season

  22. Aw, this was a really good post. Finding the time and actual effort to produce a great article… but what can I say… I procrastinate a lot and never manage to get anything done.

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