There's nothing left for the Green Bay Packers to play for this year, so they've elected to play it safe with their franchise quarterback. The team placed Aaron Rodgers on season-ending injured reserve Tuesday, one day after Green Bay was eliminated from playoff contention.
Rodgers triumphantly returned to action in Week 15 after missing seven games with a broken collarbone. He threw for three touchdowns in the must-win contest with the Carolina Panthers, but also tossed three interceptions - his most since 2009. Rodgers was sacked three times in the loss and took several other big hits with his team's playoff hopes dwindling, much to the concern of head coach Mike McCarthy.
"With all the factors involved, we felt this was clearly in Aaron Rodgers' best interest," McCarthy said. "He's not happy about it. It's a hard day for him. This is not the way - I don't think - any player wants to see their season come to a conclusion, being on IR. We all understand and appreciate and respect his competitive spirit, but we felt as an organization this was in his best interest."
McCarthy was adamant Rodgers didn't suffer an injury setback, but did admit his quarterback was very sore after Carolina's defense feasted on him. The Packers have two games remaining on the schedule, but were officially eliminated from playoff contention after the Atlanta Falcons secured a win Monday night. Sitting Rodgers, who had surgery on Oct. 19 to implant 13 screws and two plates to stabilize his collarbone, just seems like the logical thing to do.
"I think clearly Aaron's effort and everything he put in to get back and play shows you the will and the character of the football team," McCarthy added. "He's the leader, and I thought he played, he did a lot of really good things in the Carolina game. To play and come back and have the challenge, I mean, they're an excellent defense. But yes, I think it shows you his competitive spirit and his will to be a champion and you know, we fully went into Carolina with the expectations to win the game."
Brett Hundley will likely get the nod at quarterback with Rodgers sidelined for a home clash with the Minnesota Vikings this week, and in Detroit for the season finale with the Lions on New Year's Eve. It's the first time the Packers will miss the postseason since Rodgers took over the reins from Brett Favre as the team's first-string quarterback in 2008.
Rodgers, 34, is under contract for two more seasons, and has a base salary of $19.8 million U.S. next year.