Aaron Rodgers won't be on the field when the Green Bay Packers take on the Kansas City Chiefs this Sunday. The reigning league MVP has tested positive for COVID-19, per CBS Sports NFL insider Jason La Canfora, shortly after practice squad quarterback Kurt Benkert was also placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list with a positive test. That leaves Jordan Love as the only other quarterback on the Packers roster and guarantees he'll get the start against Patrick Mahomes and Co. in Week 9.
This also means Green Bay is likely to make a roster move of some sort to ensure Love has a backup, seeing as they also have none on their practice squad. For Rodgers, who is reportedly unvaccinated -- per Ian Rapoport of NFL Network -- league protocol requires he quarantine for a minimum of 10 days, placing question marks on the Packers' Nov. 14 matchup with the Seattle Seahawks as well. He tested positive on either Monday or Tuesday, which would see his quarantine expire on either the Friday (Nov. 13) or Saturday (Nov. 14) before the Seahawks taking the field at Lambeau, and he's unable to return to the building until it does.
That is, if he is truly unvaccinated, seeing as Rodgers previously said publicly that he was, in fact, vaccinated.
To be more accurate, he noted he had been "immunized," and that creates its own set of questions on if he's truly vaccinated or if he's speaking to simply having built up natural antibodies from possibly contracting the virus on a previous occasion. There has since been some light shed on the situation, but it isn't in Rodgers' favor. The 37-year-old reportedly lobbied the league's front office for approval of an alternative treatment, as opposed to getting the vaccine, per Rob Demovsky of ESPN. NFL Media's Ian Rapoport later reported that Rodgers "received homeopathic treatment from his personal doctor to raise his antibody levels."
After reviewing Rodgers' status, the NFL proceeded to label him as unvaccinated.
This begs the question on which side of the protocol Rodgers has been adhering to up to this point, seeing as they're wildly different. Any discrepancy would likely lead to a swift and potentially harsh punishment from commissioner Roger Goodell, who has shown the NFL is not afraid to drop the hammer on anyone or any team found in violation of COVID-19 protocol.
The NFL issued a statement on the matter Wednesday evening, stating that "the primary responsibility for enforcement of the COVID protocols within club facilities rests with each club. Failure to properly enforce the protocols has resulted in discipline being assessed against individual clubs in the past. The league is aware of the current situation in Green Bay and will be reviewing the matter with the Packers."
Should it turn out Rodgers is vaccinated and his wording was simply odd, however, he can return to the team once he's symptom-free and produces two negative tests within a 24-hour period.
Time will reveal if he is or is not, with league protocol being the tell, but the Packers will now lean on Love when they step into Arrowhead Stadium.
And if Rodgers has not received the vaccine, but instead attempted to carry himself as vaccinated due to an alternative treatment denied relevancy by the NFL, they might be leaning on their former first-round pick for a bit longer than that -- giving Love a very real chance at trying to show the Packers he's potentially ready for the keys to the castle in 2022. And the organization itself could be subject to substantial penalty for any violation(s) the NFL believes they readily allowed by Rodgers.