You can go down to practice and hit each other and be in close contact, but you have to have plexiglass in between you and the guy next to you in the locker room,” Rodgers said in an interview with former Colts punter Pat McAfee. “You can dap up a guy after the game, but you can’t eat at the same lunch table as a teammate?”
The person spoke on condition of anonymity to the Journal Sentinel, part of the USA TODAY Network, due to the sensitivity of the situation.
The Packers will instead start Jordan Love, the 2020 first-round pick who has only seven pass attempts in mop-up duty in his career to date.
Rodgers had not been wearing a mask during indoor news conferences, which constitutes a violation of the NFL’s COVID-19 protocols. Under the league’s joint protocols with the NFL Players Association, unvaccinated players who fail to wear a mask as mandated are subject to a $14,650 fine for a first offense. Repeat violators can be fined up to one week’s salary and suspended for up to four games.
The 37-year-old reigning NFL MVP also attended a Halloween party with other Packers players over the weekend and was seen not wearing a mask, which would constitute another violation of the league’s protocols. The NFL also mandated that unvaccinated players who are inactive for preseason games wear masks on the sidelines, which Rodgers did not do.
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Rodgers has been undergoing daily testing as mandated by league protocols, a person with knowledge of the situation told USA TODAY Sports. The person spoke on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the situation.
Packers coach Matt LaFleur refused to address Rodgers’ vaccination status during a news conference Wednesday.
“I’m not going to get into any of our players or coaches vaccination statuses,” LaFleur said.
Rodgers becomes the latest Packers standout to miss a game due to COVID-19 protocols. All-Pro wide receiver Davante Adams sat out Thursday’s win over the Arizona Cardinals after testing positive, as did fellow wide receiver Allen Lazard – who was ruled a close contact – and defensive coordinator Joe Barry – who also tested positive.
When asked in August whether he had been vaccinated, Rodgers said he had been “immunized.”
Asked Wednesday about Rodgers’ remark in August, LaFleur said, “That’s a great question for Aaron.”
Rodgers typically speaks with the media on Wednesday but was removed from the team’s scheduled availability.
The Packers planned to sign quarterback Blake Bortles, who was with the team this offseason before being released in July, a person with knowledge of the move told the USA TODAY Network. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss personnel moves that were not yet official.
Prior to Bortles’ signing, Love was the only quarterback beyond Rodgers on the Packers’ active roster. Kurt Benkert was placed on the practice squad COVID-19 reserve list on Tuesday after testing positive.
Last November, Rodgers questioned the league’s COVID-19 protocols at the time, suggesting that they could be driven more by optics than health.
“You can go down to practice and hit each other and be in close contact, but you have to have plexiglass in between you and the guy next to you in the locker room,” Rodgers said in an interview with former Colts punter Pat McAfee. “You can dap up a guy after the game, but you can’t eat at the same lunch table as a teammate?”