The Green Bay Packers did right by Aaron Rodgers and right by themselves by shutting down their indispensable quarterback for the remainder of the season Tuesday.
The move came two days after the Packers lost Sunday at Carolina in Rodgers’s return from a broken collarbone and one day after they officially were eliminated from playoff contention by the Atlanta Falcons’ victory Monday night.
Rodgers said last week that he wasn’t coming back to save the Packers’ season. He was, unfortunately for the Packers, correct.
And with the competitive portion of the Packers’ season complete, there was no reason to expose him to the risk of being reinjured. Remember when Tony Romo came back from a broken collarbone in 2015, only to rebreak it? It would have been irresponsible for the Packers to leave that scenario in play for Rodgers in games that mean basically nothing.
This way, Rodgers will be able to heal fully and have a complete offseason program, training camp and preseason heading into the 2018 season. Perhaps no player in the league means more to his team than Rodgers means to the Packers. Before trading Jimmy Garoppolo, the New England Patriots could have withstood an injury to Tom Brady better than the Packers are able to withstand an injury to Rodgers.
Backup Brett Hundley, after an unsteady beginning, managed to hand the starting job back to Rodgers with a long-shot chance for the Packers to reach the postseason. But Rodgers, after his long layoff, was not himself Sunday, throwing three interceptions. The Packers might not have beaten the Panthers even if Rodgers had been at something approaching his best. And even if they’d beaten the Panthers, reaching the postseason still was no sure thing.
The season’s remaining games mean more to Hundley than they would have meant to Rodgers. Hundley can use them to gain more experience. If he is needed again, he perhaps would be able to make any injury to Rodgers less calamitous to a Packers season.
For now, it’s time for Rodgers to rest and mend, and it’s time for the Packers to begin looking toward next season and beyond as they try to win another Super Bowl with Rodgers.
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