NFL

Aaron Rodgers wants to turn focus from vaccines back to football - 'I'm not an activist'

By Sports Desk November 09, 2021

Aaron Rodgers acknowledged Tuesday that people might have felt "misled" by him saying he was "immunised" against COVID-19, but he sought to turn the focus away from his decisions and back to the field. 

The Green Bay Packers quarterback missed Sunday's 13-7 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs after testing positive for coronavirus last week, and the revelation that he had not been vaccinated as many believed he had implied during the preseason ignited a firestorm of criticism. 

Rodgers sought to move past that in an appearance Tuesday on the Pat McAfee Show, though he continued to stand by his decision. 

"I'm an athlete, I'm not an activist," Rodgers said. "So I'm going to get back to doing what I do best, and that's playing ball.

"I shared my opinion. It wasn't one that was come to frivolously. It involved a lot of study and what I felt like was in my best interest for my body."

Under the NFL's protocols, Rodgers will not be able to practice with the Packers this week but he could be cleared Saturday to play in Sunday's home game against the Seattle Seahawks. 

He said he hopes the reception from the crowd at Lambeau Field, the only home he has known in his 17-year NFL career, will be the same as it ever has been whenever he next takes the field there. 

That would be a welcome change from the blow-back he has received over the last few days, which Rodgers acknowledged Tuesday. 

"I'm human, stuff can definitely hurt your feelings," he said. "But, look, I shared an opinion that is polarising. I get it. And I misled some people about my status, which I take full responsibility of those comments.

"But, in the end, I have to stay true to who I am and what I'm about. And I stand behind the things that I said.

"I have a ton of empathy for people who have been going through the worst part of this pandemic, which has affected all of us in different ways, but so many people with, like I said, lives that were lost, lives that were forever changed, and I have a ton of compassion and empathy for those people. I have tried to help out as much as I can.

"The other stuff is so out of my control, and there's going to be people that don't like you, and hate you for things you said or might not understand what you said or know what you said and might've just seen a headline. And that's fine.

"I believe that people are entitled to their opinion, even if it's an opinion that's unfavourable to me."

Packers head coach Matt LaFleur said he and his staff are preparing separate game plans that feature either Rodgers or backup Jordan Love starting at quarterback. 

Love struggled in his first NFL start, completing 19 of 34 passes for 190 yards with a touchdown and an interception for a 69.5 passer rating, but Rodgers had nothing but praise for the 23-year-old. 

"I'm proud of Jordan. I thought he hung in there," Rodgers said. "The only thing I told him during the week was just to trust his feet because he is a very athletic guy.

"I thought he did a nice job of avoiding sacks, getting out of the pocket, making positive plays out of potential sacks. I might have got sacked in certain situations; he was able to elusively get out of the pocket there and have positive gains."

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