Green Bay Packers hold off on surgery for Jaire Alexander; center Josh Myers out for Bengals game

Ryan Wood
Packers News
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GREEN BAY - At least for now, the Green Bay Packers are choosing not to have star cornerback Jaire Alexander undergo shoulder surgery that could threaten to end his season.

Coach Matt LaFleur said Friday the team is going to allow time for Alexander's shoulder to heal. Alexander will miss Sunday's game at the Cincinnati Bengals, and it does not sound like his return is imminent. 

"I think we've got better clarity with that," LaFleur said. "Certainly, it's one of those things we're going to let heal and see where it's at down the line before making that determination, but we're hopeful that it'll heal the right way and he'll be back with us in a matter of weeks."

Packers cornerback Jaire Alexander is carted off the field after being injured against the Steelers.

The Packers already knew they would be without their top cornerback at the Bengals. Turns out, they'll also be missing their starting center, too.

Rookie Josh Myers will not play against the Bengals because of a finger injury. LaFleur said Myers had been playing through the injury, but the doctors are not allowing him to play so it can heal.

"He'll be out this week," LaFleur said. "I don't think it's going to be anything long-term. Hopefully, if he gets cleared, he'll be back with us next week. But it's something the doctors are holding him out."

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LaFleur put off informing the public who would take Myers' place at center until Sunday's kickoff. Their two most likely options appear to be Elgton Jenkins, who is questionable with an ankle injury that cost him the past two games, or Lucas Patrick. 

Jenkins was a starting center in his final two college seasons at Mississippi State, and that might still be the best position for an offensive lineman that plays all five at a high level. But Jenkins is also needed at left tackle, where he could replace third-stringer Yosh Nijman, and left tackle is a more prominent position on the offensive line. The Packers also tested Patrick at center in camp specifically for weeks like this, where they need depth at the position.

Jaylon Smith says he'll be 'elite' for Packers

At age 26, Jaylon Smith has already progressed deeper into his NFL career than some scouts expected when he entered the NFL draft five years ago. 

Smith was expected to be a top pick in 2016. He plummeted in the draft after tearing the ACL and LCL in his knee during his final game at Notre Dame. The Dallas Cowboys swooped him up with the 34th overall pick in the second round, stunning some of the scouts who doubted whether Smith could still have an NFL career after such a significant knee surgery. 

He not only played every game the past four seasons after sitting out all of 2016, including being a full-time starter the past three, but was a Pro Bowler in 2019. 

“I believe ever player has their doubters,” Smith said Friday, wearing a Green Bay Packers hoodie, “but for me, everything I’ve done up to this point has been legit, and I know what kind of player I am. The guys know what kind of player I am. The coaches know what kind of player I am. I’m a team guy, and I’m a guy that’s going to add value. So honestly I’m just head down, working. When I get an opportunity, producing is the name of the game. So I’m locked in, and I’m ready to add some value.” 

Smith will try to prove he still has something left in the tank after the Cowboys moved on from him this week. He was released Tuesday, a move owner Jerry Jones said on a local radio station was made to open playing time for young, rising inside linebackers on his defense. Jones also mentioned Smith is dealing with “drop foot,” a condition from his injury that could affect his mobility and athleticism. 

Smith made clear Friday he does not believer there has been any decline in his game. He perceives himself to still be an “elite” player at this point in his career. The question is how long he’ll need to get up to speed, considering he’s learning a new defense. 

“I’m a sponge soaking everything in,” Smith said. “So I’m going to do what I need to do to make sure I’m ready.” 

The Packers aren’t putting a timeline on implementing Smith into defensive coordinator Joe Barry’s scheme. They have patience to work Smith behind starters De’Vondre Campbell and Krys Barnes. 

Ultimately, Smith said, he hopes he can contribute to a team that has Super Bowl aspirations, and the chance to join Aaron Rodgers’ team was too much to pass. 

“I wanted to be in Green Bay,” Smith said. “Simple as that. Historic franchise. Love everything and what everyone is about. Twelve is amazing, and getting the opportunity to add more value to the defense is a blessing, and it’s an honor. I’m looking forward to being here. This locker room is great, and the guys have welcomed me in. So it’s definitely a privilege.” 

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