GREEN BAY, Wis. Emotional and exhausted. Here’s how Aaron Rodgers said he felt after the Green Bay Packers’ 17-0 win over the Seattle Seahawks in the quarterback’s return from his 10-day absence due to COVID-19.
He won’t be on any list of Rodgers’ best games, but he still left Lambeau Field on Sunday sounding satisfied and appreciative, if not a little tired.
“Lots of emotions, sure,” Rodgers said. “It’s good to be back with the guys, it’s good to be back home, it’s good to be on the field, really. Most of the excitement of the whole night was probably getting off the field after the game. It definitely put me off. A little hazy. It was good to feel those kinds of emotions and good to be back with the guys. “
When asked why it got ‘foggy’ after the game, Rodgers said: “I just don’t take these things for granted, come off the field as a winner. It’s fun to beat that team. We’ve had a few battles throughout the years. years … just dating [teammate] Preston [Smith], whom I have so much love and appreciation for, and then hearing that kind of response from the crowd, it was a little more special today. “
It was just Rodgers’ second career victory without a touchdown pass and at least one interception. He had previously been 1-5 in such games. He completed 23 of 37 passes for 292 yards. His interception came in the red zone on a different play than Rodgers’, when he threw a ball in desperation and was intercepted in the end zone by Seahawks safety Jamal Adams. It was his second red zone interception of the season after not throwing one inside the 20-yard line all of last season.
Packers coach Matt LaFleur and the offensive staff did most of their game planning work with Rodgers virtually until Saturday, when he was allowed to return to Lambeau Field. Rodgers didn’t technically practice the entire week, although the team typically does a tour session the day before games.
“I wouldn’t say it was difficult to plan the game, but you always wonder what game day will look like when you haven’t had replays with him,” LaFleur said. “But we are so confident in his ability to come out and execute. I thought there were a lot of plays, for whatever reason, that it didn’t work out.”
Rodgers held his postgame press conference via Zoom after the Packers were fined $ 300,000 last week, in part because Rodgers broke the COVID protocol that requires unvaccinated players to speak to reporters virtually or in person. while wearing a mask.
Rodgers did not say why he chose the virtual option on Sunday.
He also spoke in a somewhat low tone compared to his usual post-game manner after wins, prompting a question as to whether he was happy.
“I’m happy; I’m so tired,” Rodgers said. “It’s been a very, long 10 days … I felt great on the field, but it’s been a couple of weeks since I’ve been playing. So it was fun to be back and I’m excited for our guys, I really am.”
The Packers (8-2) still have two more games to go before their week 13 bye.
Rodgers received criticism and support for his comments on vaccines and acknowledged last week that he may have misled the public about his vaccination status when he said Aug. 26 that he had been “immunized.”
“Everyone has an opinion and I understand that it is a very polarizing issue for some people, but I am focusing on the support that I received and it was deep and wide and highly appreciated,” Rodgers said. “There will always be criticism in this world. I am not defined by criticism, but I understand that it is part of this because this issue is definitely polarizing. But, again, I am deeply grateful for all the people who have come.”
Among those who reached out, Rodgers said, were neighbors, teammates, coaches and even people in the organization who he referred to as “having a lot of the suits come up and check on me was really very special.” .
Rodgers is now exempt from daily COVID testing for the next 90 days and will also not be subject to the five-day quarantine if considered a close contact. Both are requirements of unvaccinated players.
However, he would revert to those testing protocols and close contact rules during the off week between the NFC Championship Game and the Super Bowl, meaning that Rodgers could be eliminated if the Packers made it to the Super Bowl.
“I really don’t like playing what if games,” Rodgers said. “So what I do know is that I have over two months right now where my protocol is not tested every day. So that’s the only thing I’m thinking about. I don’t like to play the hypothetical game. Obviously You, I would love to play the second weekend in February and hopefully we are in that position. “