Aaron Rodgers was emotional upon his return to the football field on Sunday.
After missing Week 9 following a positive test for COVID-19, the Packers quarterback returned to Lambeau Field and helped get Green Bay back in the win column with a 17-0 victory over the Seattle Seahawks.
“A lot of emotions, for sure,” Rodgers said after the game. “Good to be back with the guys, good to be back at home, good to be back on the field, really. Most emotions from the whole night was probably walking off the field after the game. Definitely got me a little misty heading off. So, that was good to feel all those emotions and good to be back with the guys.”
Rodgers has gone through a fair share of regular-season games over the course of his 17-year career, but why so “misty” after game in the middle of November?
“You know I just don’t take these things for granted,” he said. “Walking off the field, as a winner, it was fun beating that squad — we’ve had some battles over the years — but just walking out with Preston [Smith], who I have so much love and appreciation for. And then hearing that type of response from the crowd was a little extra special tonight.”
Rodgers completed 23 of 37 passes for 292 yards with no touchdowns and an interception. The 37-year-old didn’t have his best outing in what was a defensive duel with the wind howling and the temperature nearing a freeze.
Of course, Rodgers had to prepare for the Seahawks while away from his team. The Packers QB wasn’t activated from the reserve/COVID-19 list until Saturday after going through a mandatory 10-day quarantine. Rodgers called it a “difficult” 10 days away from the team and admitted it was troublesome to have to prep for a game without being in the same room or on the practice field at all with his teammates.
“Not ideal, for sure,” Rodgers said. “Being on Zoom all week. The best thing for me to be prepared is to be able to repeat the plays in practice and then the walk-throughs — you’re hearing them two, three or four times and it becomes kind of second nature’ you can almost finish the sentence from Matt [LaFleur]. Today, like I told pregame, it was going to be more Ron Burgundy-ish — where sometimes I just gotta repeat exactly what is being said verbatim. Kind of feel my way through some of the plan. But I felt Matt did a nice job of limiting the long play-calls early in the game. There was a lot of running plays and not a lot of cans or adjustments on them, so I think that made me settle in a little bit. But yeah — not ideal for sure. It will be nice to go through a full week next week.”
The aftermath of Rodgers’ positive case brought with it a review into the Packers’ COVID-19 protocols implementation, which resulted in the franchise getting fined $300,000 and Rodgers incurring a $14,650 fine due to attending a Halloween party. Unvaccinated players are prohibited from team gatherings outside the team facility.
Rodgers said it was “special” and “meaningful” that so many people from the organization reached out to him over the course of his time away from the team. Sunday’s win over the Seahawks doesn’t exactly end Rodgers’ story on the season, but it’s one that brought some new perspective for the Packers QB.
“I feel pretty good for the most part,” Rodgers said when asked how he felt physically after the game. “I’d say I played fairly solid. Obviously I had that one bad decision in the red zone and probably missed a couple throws. … My wind was good. I got stepped on in the second quarter and it kind of bothered me a little bit but, wind-wise I felt pretty good.”
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