Days after defending his decision to remain unvaccinated from COVID-19 and slamming the NFL for its "draconian" COVID protocols, Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers returned to the Pat McAfee Show on Tuesday to clarify his comments. Set for a potential return to the field on Saturday ahead of Green Bay's Week 10 game against the Seahawks, Rodgers said he "stands by" his personal decision and opinions but essentially apologized for his initial remarks, claiming "full responsibility" for potentially misleading others.
"I do realize that I am a role model," Rodgers said at the start of his interview. "I just want to (acknowledge) that I made some comments that people may have felt were misleading. To anybody who felt misled by those comments, I take full responsibility for those comments. And I'm excited about feeling better, I'm excited about moving forward ... and getting back to doing what I do best, and that's play ball."
In Rodgers' previous appearance with McAfee, which came just a day after the reigning NFL MVP was ruled out for Week 9 due to COVID, Rodgers questioned the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines and accused both the NFL and media of embarking on a "witch hunt" to "shame" unvaccinated players. On Tuesday, he didn't definitively retract those statements, reiterating that he got medical advice from a team of doctors to inform his own decisions, but added that he didn't intend to fuel the divide over vaccines.
"I understand that this issue in general is very charging to a lot of people because we're talking about medical health," he said. "I respect everybody's opinion ... I'm not gonna hate on anybody that has said things about me. I believe everybody's entitled to their opinion. I'll always believe that."
"I'm an athlete, I'm not an activist," Rodgers added, explaining he doesn't wish to champion either side of a seemingly political debate. "I'm gonna get back to doing what I do best, and that's playing ball."
After missing the Packers' loss to the Chiefs, Rodgers is feeling better while recovering from COVID, the QB added, though there's a "small possibility" he could still be sidelined against Seattle in Week 10. Rodgers must still be medically cleared to return to the field, he explained, and is working to ensure full physical exertion is possible in the wake of his battle with COVID.
In the seemingly unlikely event he can't go against the Seahawks, who are expected to welcome Russell Wilson back from injury, Rodgers would be replaced by second-year QB Jordan Love for a second straight week.