Aaron Rodgers tested positive for COVID-19 on Wednesday, a diagnosis that will keep the Packers quarterback from playing Sunday when Green Bay travels to take on the Chiefs.
It will also keep him out of commission a minimum of 10 days, until at least Nov. 13, as per the NFL’s COVID protocols. That’s because, despite preseason comments that suggested otherwise, Rodgers is unvaccinated, per a report from NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport and Mike Garafolo.
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A player with a breakthrough case of COVID-19 — i.e., a vaccinated player who contracts the disease — would be able to return to play after two separate negative tests taken 24 hours apart.
The subject of vaccination status was — and still is — a topic of intense debate in the NFL. Several high-profile players such as Dak Prescott, Kirk Cousins, Lamar Jackson and more not only declined to share their status, but also outright said they would not get the vaccine as a result of their own research.
Rodgers himself was asked about his vaccination status before the season started, on Aug. 26. He was calculated with his answer, saying he respected that it was a “personal decision” whether someone would receive the vaccine. However, he seemed to indicate that he himself had received the vaccine when he said he was “immunized.”
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“Yeah, I’ve been immunized,” Rodgers said at the time. “There’s a lot of conversation around it, around the league, and a lot of guys who have made statements and not made statements, owners who have made statements. There’s guys on the team that haven’t been vaccinated. I think it’s a personal decision. I’m not going to judge those guys.”
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It’s worth noting that Rodgers, who was asked outright whether he was vaccinated, did not say specifically he was vaccinated against COVID-19. He also didn’t use the word “vaccinated” in his answer, going instead with “immunized.” It’s uncertain whether Rodgers attempted to mislead with his answer or whether he believed himself to be immunized from the coronavirus as a result of some non-vaccine medication.
What is certain is that Rodgers will miss at least one game — and potentially the Week 10 visit from the Seahawks — as a result of his COVID-19 diagnosis. This, a week after receivers Davanta Adams and Allen Lazard were placed on the COVID-19 list as well.
The Packers (7-1) are in a good position, record-wise, to potentially withstand his absence for two weeks. But if Green Bay loses one or more games with him out due to the illness, Rodgers’ preseason comments will only become louder and louder.