Rodgers on Sunday missed his seventh straight game since breaking his collarbone in Week 9 against the Chicago Bears. The Packers have avoided giving a timetable for Rodgers’ recovery. The questions about his status come each week, and each week he has not been medically cleared to play. But, last week, instead of saying that Rodgers wasn’t medically cleared to play, coach Mike McCarthy repeated during a press conference that it was an “organizational decision” to not have Rodgers play. That “organizational decision” line apparently came at Rodgers’ urging.
ESPN’s Chris Mortensen shared the information on “Sunday NFL Countdown.” Here’s what he said via the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel:
“A CT scan of Aaron Rodgers’ fractured left collarbone still showed extraordinary risk if he returned to the football field today, according to sources,” Mortensen said. “So why the emphasis on organizational decision by Packers’ coach Mike McCarthy on Friday to the point where McCarthy mentioned it eight or nine times by media count? That’s because Rodgers insisted vehemently on a message of organizational decision, sources said, with an emphasis that he is a tough guy. One source says the quarterback’s sensitivity that his injury absence would be compared to Brett Favre’s reputation for toughness was a driving force behind McCarthy’s message, which created a palpable tension between the coach and the quarterback. And sources say McCarthy clearly understood Dr. Patrick McKenzie’s unwillingness to give Rodgers medical clearance and there was no real organizational decision about it. It was medical.”
If this is true, I understand Rodgers’ concern about how he is perceived in terms of toughness. And why isn’t it enough for McCarthy to say Rodgers hasn’t been medically cleared? Because there have been plenty of players who come back early from injuries regardless of what doctors have told them. If Rodgers wanted the team to say it’s an organizational decision not to have him play, they should comply. Why? They need to do the right thing and protect their top player. Do they really want him coming back early and re-breaking the bone? Do they want to have a Rob Gronkowski forearm situation? Or do they want him to fully heal so he can continue being a great QB for them for the next decade? This shouldn’t be an issue, and nobody should question Rodgers’ toughness. This is an injury that needs time to heal and should not be rushed.