14

December

The Packers should let Aaron Rodgers Play

I am not a doctor. I haven’t seen any scans of Packers QB Aaron Rodgers’ damaged collarbone. I don’t know Packers team physician Dr. Pat McKenzie or coach Mike McCarthy. I didn’t stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night.

In other words, I am completely unqualified to determine whether Rodgers should be allowed to play Sunday when the Packers play the Dallas Cowboys.

But being unqualified has never stopped me before, and it’s not going to stop me on this issue. I believe if Rodgers thinks he can play, he should be allowed to play. From Jason Wilde’s Friday column on the topic:

“Frankly, I think if Aaron was asked the question, he wants to play. He feels he’s ready to play,” McCarthy told reporters Friday in his usual, end-of-the-week post-practice news conference. “Based on what he’s accomplished physically and what he was able to do at practice on Wednesday and Thursday, he’s ready to go.”

So even the coach sounds confident that Rodgers could play. Unless scans show Rodgers’ collarbone to be so fragile that it might crack in half if someone pats his shoulder pads after a touchdown pass, let him play. Why hold him back?

I get that increased risk of re-injury is probably the main concern. I’ve also heard Rodgers speak eloquently about injury risks that come with playing in the NFL. He has a good understanding of the risks he and other players take every time they step on the field. I don’t think he would play if he thought the risk/reward balance of re-injuring his collarbone was totally out of whack.

I applaud the Packers organization for its long-term outlook and putting a player’s safety first when handling injuries. Obviously, you don’t want to put Rodgers out there if the risk of re-injury is off the charts. But in this instance, based on what we know and what has been said publicly, the re-injury risk has declined dramatically and the team sounds like it’s being a little too cautious.

Rodgers took snaps with the first team in practice this week and apparently feels good physically. Also from Wilde’s column:

“The hurdle that I know Aaron wanted to get over, he achieved it this week. He feels really good,” McCarthy said.

So why is he going to carry a clipboard and wear a headset on Sunday?