Shut him down? If asked, Rodgers ‘open’ to idea

GREEN BAY, Wis. — Aaron Rodgers is playing Sunday against the Chicago Bears despite his latest injury, this one to his ribs, and the Green Bay Packers quarterback doesn’t plan on that changing the rest of the season.

Except if they’re out of playoff contention.

At 4-8 and teetering on the verge of elimination, that could become a reality sooner rather than later — at which point Rodgers said he understands that a conversation will almost certainly be had about his status for the remainder of the season.

That’s in large part because of Jordan Love, the third-year backup quarterback who hasn’t played much meaningful football in his career. He showed some promise in relief of Rodgers after he left Sunday’s game against the Eagles because of the rib injury.

“Look, I’d love to finish the season out, but I understand this is a business and there’s a lot of us kind of older guys who play a decent amount and they might want to see some younger guys play,” Rodgers said Wednesday. “Hopefully we don’t have to have that conversation. But if that conversation comes up, I’ll approach that with an open mind and without any bitterness or resentment. Obviously, like I said, I want to win out and we don’t have to have those conversations. I understand if we don’t that’s a possibility to have that conversation.”

To be sure, Rodgers never said he would welcome that — just that he would understand it’s something the team would have to consider.

The only other time Rodgers did not finish out a season when the Packers were out of playoff contention was 2017. He came back from a broken collarbone in Week 15 against the Panthers but after the Packers lost that game and were eliminated from the playoffs with two games remaining, Rodgers went back on injured reserve. That was merely procedural, and Rodgers would have tried to keep playing if they were still in the hunt.

When asked if that would be a better course of action to make sure he’s fully healthy for next year, Rodgers said: “I mean, that’s an assumption that this place won’t look any different next year. Again, that’s part of the conversation.”

Rodgers has not said whether he plans to play in 2023, but he has a guaranteed $59.5 million waiting for him if he does. Rodgers did not practice Wednesday but said he threw a few passes and felt much better than he did when he exited Sunday’s game. He said if the improvement continues, he could practice either Thursday or Friday this week.

He would not say whether he has broken ribs or an injury to the cartilage in the rib cage but hinted that it could be the latter, similar to what Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert had earlier this season.

“Possibly, yeah,” Rodgers said when Herbert’s injury was mentioned.

Regardless of the specifics, Rodgers said he will probably wear some type of rib protection for the first time in his NFL career.

“Yeah, I probably will, to protect it a little bit more,” he said. “I haven’t worn rib pads since college. I’m not sure I want to start now, but I’ll probably definitely have something covering it up.”

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