Aaron Rodgers stands by statements he made last week on 'The Pat McAfee Show' but has been doing 'a lot of reflection' while out with COVID

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Four days after a defiant Aaron Rodgers touted unproven treatments to COVID-19, ripped the NFL for their health and safety protocols and explained his reasoning for not being vaccinated, the Green Bay Packers quarterback is ready to get back to football.

Rodgers returned to "The Pat McAfee Show" and said he stands by his statements last week, was proud of Jordan Love for his performance Sunday and was empathetic to those who have been hit hard by the coronavirus over the last 19 months. 

He also admitted he misled people on his vaccination status. 

"This has definitely been a time of a lot of reflection," Rodgers said during about a 30-minute chat.

Rodgers brought a more calm approach than Friday's 45-minute interview in which he made false and misleading claims about COVID-19 and interjected politics once again into the discussion.

Tuesday's interview follows days of backlash toward the quarterback. Prevea Health — a Wisconsin health care system — announced it has cut ties with the three-time NFL MVP after a nine-year partnership. State Farm, meanwhile, on Monday said that while it doesn't agree with Rodgers' statements it was standing by their pitch man. 

Rodgers, who missed the Packers' 13-7 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday, is in the midst of a 10-day quarantine following a positive COVID-19 test last Wednesday. The earliest he is eligible to return to the team is Saturday, a day before the Packers host the Seattle Seahawks.

Here are some takeaways from his Tuesday interview with McAfee. 

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) can return to the team after missing Sunday's game due to COVID-19, though he must pass some hurdles for that to happen.

Aaron Rodgers, from his Green Bay home, says he's feeling better after testing positive for COVID 

Rodgers, sitting in front of his book case with a Star Wars sweatshirt on at his Green Bay residence, said "I'm feeling better. I'm feeling pretty good." 

During Friday's interview, Rodgers said he had symptoms last Tuesday night, tested positive Wednesday and felt ill as of late Thursday. His symptoms dissipated by Friday. 

"It's time to move forward and talk about football," Rodgers said. "I feel like I'm on the other side of it and thankful to have something to look forward to."

Rodgers' status for Sunday's game vs. the Seahawks is still to be determined

As an unvaccinated player, Rodgers had to sit out at least 10 days from his positive test and must be asymptomatic in addition to other hurdles, including a player with moderate symptoms passing a cardiac screen.

Rodgers sounds good but sounding good is a lot different than playing after having COVID-19, something Rodgers recognized Tuesday.

Asked if there is a chance he might not play, Rodgers said "a possibility, but a small possibility."

Rodgers said he hasn't done much physical activity over the last week but that he's going to start working out now after being limited to some walking and yoga.

"Amp it up this week," with "higher exertion and hopefully feel great and be ready to go."

Rodgers concedes he misled people on his vaccination status when he said he was 'immunized'

On Tuesday, Rodgers acknowledged he misled people about his vaccination status and said he realizes he's "definitely fortunate to have the kind of care" he has received.

"I know it's special," Rodgers said. "I know it hasn't been like that for everybody. It's been a tough two years for a lot of people."

"I understand people are suffering," Rodgers added.

Rodgers said he empathizes with people who have been severely impacted by COVID-19, whether it be knowing someone who lost someone to the deadly virus or lost their livelihoods during the pandemic.

"I do realize I am a role model to a lot of people," Rodgers said.

In training camp, Rodgers said he was "immunized" when asked whether he was vaccinated. And he has not worn a mask when addressing the media this season, a violation of NFL protocols for unvaccinated players.

"I misled some people about my status, which I take full responsibility of those comments," Rodgers conceded Tuesday. 

Rodgers said last week to McAfee he was allergic to an ingredient in two of the vaccines, had concerns about a rare clotting issue in another as well as fertility issues (studies have not shown any indication there is such an issue and COVID).

"I understand this issue is very charging for a lot of people because we're talking about public health," he said.

Rodgers stands by his vaccination statements and admires Joe Rogan 

Rodgers came under fire last week for saying he was taking unproven COVID treatments like ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine, that he consulted with comedian and podcast host Joe Rogan and questioned the efficacy of the vaccines.

When McAfee referenced Rogan again Tuesday, Rodgers reiterated he has "a lot of admiration for Joe," who is unvaccinated and has had COVID-19. 

"I have to stay true to who I am and what I’m about," Rodgers said. "And I stand behind the things that I said. ... I'm going to continue to be the best version of me." 

He added that he doesn't worry about the outside noise around him, though he does hear it.

"I think if you find your identity in yourself and not in the opinion of others than you don't need that validation from others," Rodgers said. "Love yourself and respect yourself."

However, he said "it was definitely tested."

"I'm human," Rodgers said. "Stuff can definitely hurt your feelings. I shared an opinion that was polarizing."

Rodgers added that he has "no judgment" for people's opinions about him and that "hate is not going to bring us out of this pandemic. I'm not going to hate on anybody that's said anything about me."

Rodgers said he's been reflecting during his time of quarantine

Rodgers said he didn't spend much time on social media reading what people were saying about him.

Instead, he said it was a time of reflection for him.

"I've been doing a lot of reading," said Rodgers, which he's well-known for and the reason he promotes a book every week on "The Pat McAfee Show." "I've been insulated to a lot of things and on my own choosing to go inward and reflective and meditative."

He also said he feels he doesn't need to address the blowback he's received following his controversial comments on COVID-19. 

"I respect everybody's opinion," Rodgers said. "I'm a lifelong student. I love learning, talking with people with different points of view. That's how you grow, that's how you learn.

"There's going to be stories, but I'm just going to get back to doing what I do best and that's play ball."

Rodgers doesn't want to talk politics anymore: 'I'm an athlete. I'm not an activist.'

There's no doubt the COVID-19 pandemic has become political over the last year.

On Friday, Rodgers involved politics into the discussion.

“Health should not be political,” Rodgers said. “It shouldn’t be that (former President) Trump endorsed ivermectin and HCQ (hydroxychloroquine), and so take that (expletive) off, it doesn’t work. I mean, in general, look at, we all should’ve been a little hesitant when Trump in 2020 was championing these vaccines that were coming so quick, what did the left say? Don’t trust the vaccine, don’t get the vaccine, you’re going to die from the vaccine. And then what happened? Biden wins, and everything flips.” 

On Tuesday, Rodgers said he's done talking politics. 

"I'm an athlete. I'm not an activist. I'm going to get back to doing what I do best and that's playing ball."

Rodgers is 'proud' of Jordan Love's performance vs. the Chiefs

Rodgers called it a "tough situation" for Love, the second-year pro making his first NFL start.

"I'm really proud of him the way he went about his business," Rodgers said. "I thought he hung in there." 

Rodgers wanted Love to trust his feet more but that he thought he did "a nice job of making positive plays" to avoid getting sacked in some instances. 

"There was nerves going for sure, I mean how could there not be," said Rodgers, referencing playing at Arrowhead Stadium. "I'm proud of the way he battled ... a big touchdown to keep us in there in the fourth. This should give him confidence moving forward."

More:Inaccuracy issues were a persistent red flag in Jordan Love's first start

More:Packers quarterback Jordan Love draws praise for his 'resiliency' after rugged first start

Rodgers did not like missing the game

Rodgers said this was his third game over his 17-year career in which he was away from the team and had to watch it on TV.

"It's not fun," Rodgers said. "It's hard to be away from the team."

He praised the defense but said the special teams was "not special," referencing two missed field goals and a fumble on a punt.

"A couple things cleaned up that game looks different," Rodgers said. "I don't want to miss any more games. It's hard to watch."

Rodgers said he has the support of the Packers

Rodgers' teammates have publicly supported him over the last week and head coach Matt LaFleur said Friday he probably wasn't going to watch Rodgers' interview from Friday.

Rodgers said he's excited to return and has been in communication with the team throughout the last week.

"The whole organization has been supportive," Rodgers said.

Contact Christopher Kuhagen at (262) 446-6634 or christopher.kuhagen@jrn.com. Follow him on Twitter at @ckuhagen and our newsroom Instagram accounts at MyCommunityNow and Lake Country Now.

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