Just stick to sports? Not for Rodgers

Packers QB plans to speak out on issues

Mike Clemens
October 05, 2017 - 12:55 am

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports


Green Bay, WI - The Packers returned to the practice field Wednesday, after a four day break following Thursday night's 35-14 win over the Chicago Bears. Here's some news & notes from Lambeau Field:

Don't be fooled. Just because offensive tackles Bryan Bulaga (ankle) and David Bakhtiari (hamstring) participated in parts of Wednesday's practice, doesn't mean they'll be protecting Aaron Rodgers when the Packers face the Cowboys in Dallas Sunday.  Even if Cowboys defensive end DeMarcus "Tank" Lawrence leads the NFL in quarterback sacks this week with 7.5 for the season. 

And no - there's no way Ty Montgomery is going to suit up and play running back Sunday with broken ribs. Please. 

Aaron Rodgers is extremely proud the Packers are 3 - 1 so far, given the starting offense has barely been on the field all at the same time. Center Corey Linsley told me veteran players and coaches have "done a fantastic job" thinking of every scenario that could come up to help prepare players like guard Justin McCray start at right tackle, or guard Lane Taylor fill in at left tackle. Rodgers has lead the way, anticipating every back-up plan and escape route he can think of to extend plays, turning lemons into lemonade. 

Rodgers said he thinks the come-from-behind victory at home in overtime against the Bengals could be a turning point this season for the Packers down the road.  He also said with all the injured teammates around him, he and Jordy Nelson have looked around the huddle and revised a joke they told during the 2010 Super Bowl season when 15 players ended up on injured reserve. "We just look at each other, then look around and say 'well, guess it's now just you and me bud."

Rodgers, like all Americans, is in a bit of a fog following the aftermath of the worst mass shooting in US history Sunday night in Las Vegas, Nevada. "I know people who were in that venue Sunday night. I have a friend who lost his best friend of 20 years (killed by the gunman.) Something's got to change in this country." Rodgers says there has been no discussion about another unity demonstration or locking of arms this Sunday during the performance of the national anthem. But he did say he will ignore football fans who say "just stick to sports. Sports and politics, for whatever reason are intertwined." Rodgers says he feels he needs to use his platform to openly discuss some social issues as he sees fit. 

And it turns out Aaron Rodgers is the kind of teammate you'd expect him to be, not as aloof or distant as some have claimed. He's very much engaged in the team's operations and future both on and off the field whenever possible.  For example former Packers and Raiders receiver James Jones revealed to The FAN's Bill Michaels that when Jordy Nelson went down with a torn ACL in a preseason game in Pittsburgh, it was Aaron Rodgers on the phone only hours after the game encouraging Jones to return to Green Bay. Early last Friday morning around 1am Rodgers and a few of his teammates had gone to the Green Bay area hosptial where his teammate Davante Adams was recovering from a brutal helmet-to-helmt shot by Bears linebacker Danny Trevathan, who will serve a one-game suspension for the hit this week. 

As for the Cowboys, expect running back  Ezekiel Elliott to play Sunday, despite his legal battles. The NFL and players union are embroiled in an appeals case surrounding Elliott's six game suspension regarding allegations of domestic abuse.  I agree with former Packers VP Andrew Brandt, who says he thinks this will play out with Elliot able to delay any suspension this season, but he may have to serve the 6 games off in the 2018 season. Just like Tom Brady did last year for four games surrounding "Deflate-gate."  Elliot told us on the conference call he is "just keeping my eyes on what's important. That's just being the best running back I can for this team. Just not letting it spill over into my work. And just making sure that I'm focused, and these guys, these teammates I have, they've been great, just helping me be focused on this game and being focused on being the running back I need to be for this team." 

The Packers took their  2017 team photo together Tuesday.  A staffer told me a funny story about a team photo session that didn't go so well about 10 years ago. I will fill you in on this story Friday at 1:15pm on The Bill Michaels Show on 105.7 FM The FAN, Milwaukee.

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