Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers is activated off the COVID-19 list and is set to play Sunday vs. the Seattle Seahawks

Tom Silverstein
Packers News
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GREEN BAY - The Green Bay Packers activated quarterback Aaron Rodgers off the reserve/COVID-19 list Saturday, setting the stage for him to return to action 11 days after testing positive for the virus. 

Rodgers had met protocols for returning to play set by the NFL and NFLPA, according to multiple reports confirmed by PackersNews. The NFL Network reported Saturday morning that Rodgers was back inside Lambeau Field and set to be activated and will play Sunday against Seattle.

The Packers had until 3 p.m. to return Rodgers to the 53-man roster so that he would be eligible to play against the Seahawks. 

Rodgers also was added to the injury report with a toe injury, but there was no designation with it, meaning he is OK to play.

For Rodgers to return from a mandatory 10-day quarantine, league rules state that he must have passed a cardiac test, not had a fever for 24 hours and seen improvement in his symptoms. 

In addition, he must receive clearance from team physician Patrick McKenzie in consultation with Infection Control Education for Major Sports (ICS), an independent agency that provides the NFL with information and risk strategy for dealing with COVID-19. 

Rodgers, who is not vaccinated, did not need to pass a COVID-19 test and will not need to be tested again for 90 days. 

Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers passes against the Cardinals during their Oct. 28 game. Rodgers missed the team's next game against the Kansas City Chiefs after testing positive for COVID-19. He's set to return Sunday against the Seattle Seahawks.

Coach Matt LaFleur made it clear that Rodgers would start against the Seahawks if he were cleared to play even though the only practice he would have taken part in is a walk-through inside the Packers' facility Saturday. 

It’s always possible that LaFleur and the medical staff want to reserve their decision on his status until he goes through warm-ups prior to the game, but all week he seemed confident that if Rodgers was cleared on Saturday he would play. 

Rodgers said on the "Pat McAfee Show" on Tuesday that he felt he was on “the other side” of his infection, but that he had mostly been limited to walking and yoga up to that point. The NFL’s protocol for returning to the field has a built-in three-day “ramp up” schedule in which the player increases his cardio workouts. 

Wide receiver Davante Adams went through a similar process when he came back from a positive test. He was able to get in one day of practice and the Saturday walk-through before playing 58 snaps against Kansas City. 

He admitted that he was winded late in the game, although he thought it was more from laying around the house during his quarantine than COVID-19 itself. 

Rodgers may face the same kind of conditioning hurdles, especially given he hasn’t played a game since Oct. 28, when the Packers beat the Arizona Cardinals. The game was on a Thursday night and Rodgers tested positive on the following Wednesday, ruling him out for the game in Kansas City. 

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LaFleur and the coaching staff had Rodgers go through all of the meetings he normally would through video conferencing, even having him watch practice tape where backup Jordan Love took all the snaps. None of the coaches expressed any concern about him handling the game plan given his experience and knowledge of the game. 

“You're trying to make it so everybody's comfortable and ready to go and execute,” offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett said. “So, we don't necessarily have that because we haven't been able to have him go out there and call those plays and watch him execute. 

“But at the same time, when you have a Thursday game, you don't really practice, you walk through. So, we have done some good things on those Thursday night games, so like everybody has said, if anybody can do it, it's definitely Aaron. And you feel more comfortable with it being a guy like Aaron, but there's just the unknown of not going out there and executing the plays that we're going to have against them. 

‘So, it's interesting.” 

If Rodgers can’t finish the game for some reason, Jordan Love has had the entire week to prepare. He is coming off his first career start against Kansas City, and while his performance was shaky, he did a few good things late in the game that encouraged the coaches. 

Love finished 19 of 34 for 190 yards and a touchdown with an interception.

The 3-5 Seahawks will be looking to win at Lambeau Field for the first time since 1999, having suffered nine straight losses, including three in the playoffs. They have had to prepare both for Rodgers and Love to be the quarterback and likely have two different game plans. 

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In his last game, Rodgers completed 22 of 37 passes for 184 yards and two touchdowns and for the season he has completed 173 of 258 passes for 1,894 yards and 17 touchdowns with three interceptions (105.7 pass rating). 

His return to the football field comes after 10 days of scrutiny in which Rodgers was lambasted for deceiving the public about his vaccination status and then going on the McAfee Show and citing false claims about the vaccine and blasting the NFL for shaming players who have refused to take it. 

In addition, the Packers were fined $300,000 for protocol violations inside and outside the facility, including a Halloween party that many Packers players, including Rodgers, attended and didn’t wear masks. Rodgers and receiver Allen Lazard were fined $14,650 apiece for violations related to the Halloween party. 

Ryan Wood of the Green Bay Press-Gazette contributed to this report.

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