Aaron Rodgers not cleared, but takes snaps with first-team offense

GREEN BAY, Wis. — For the first time since breaking his

left collarbone, Aaron Rodgers took practice snaps with the Green Bay Packers’

first-team offense.

Though Rodgers remained a limited practice participant on

the Packers’ official injury report, this revelation — made public in the

locker room Wednesday by tight end Andrew Quarless — makes it a bit more

likely that Green Bay gets its starting quarterback on the field for Sunday’s

game at Dallas.

“Oh, man, ’12’ looked real good today,” Quarless

said. “It was good to see him out there really working with the offense.

He was out there before but wasn’t working as much with the offense. But today

he took some offensive reps, which is a great thing for the team,

definitely.”

Quarless confirmed that he was referring to Rodgers taking

snaps with the starters.

“’12’ is our leader, man,” Quarless said. “It

would be great to get him back.”

Rodgers often addresses the media on Wednesdays, but the

Packers changed his availability this week to Thursday.

“Aaron still is not medically cleared,” coach Mike

McCarthy said. “I think it’s important to stay in tune with that because

the topic of ‘Is he playing in the game?’ versus ‘Is he medically cleared?,’

those are two totally different issues.”

Last week, Rodgers stated that he had his strength and range

of motion back, and that all that was remaining in him playing in a game again

was the medical scan showing that he’s fully healed. However, McCarthy’s

comment made it seem possible that Rodgers could be medically cleared but still

not play in a game this season.

“I’m not going to get into hypotheticals about the

steps of everything that goes on,” McCarthy said.

Rodgers signed a record-setting five-year, $110 million

extension last offseason. With Rodgers under contract through the 2019 season,

the Packers are attempting to balance the importance of trying to make the

playoffs this season while making sure that their future isn’t hindered by any

potential further damage to his collarbone.

“Aaron’s obviously very important to our

organization,” McCarthy said. “He’s the face of our franchise and,

until he’s medically cleared, just like any other player going through a

significant injury, that’s really where the focus will be.”

Rodgers previously said that he felt pain after

participating in last Wednesday’s practice, but that didn’t appear to be an

issue this week.

“I don’t think he was in pain today, from what I

saw,” McCarthy said.

While Green Bay waits on Rodgers’ status, the Packers began

their week of preparation for the Cowboys with Matt Flynn once again as the

starting quarterback. After a very poor performance on Thanksgiving in a loss

to the Detroit Lions, Flynn played much better in Green Bay’s victory over the

Atlanta Falcons.

“I think really the way Matt played last week, the

benefit of having a full week of preparation, I think you saw that he was

comfortable,” McCarthy said. “We had flow to our offense, rhythm to

our offense that we really hadn’t had consistently over the past month.”

Though he stepped aside for Rodgers to take some snaps with

the starters Wednesday, Flynn is approaching this week the same as he has the

past two — as the starter.

“This is kind of the job of being a backup quarterback,

being able to go in there and execute when your number is called,” Flynn

said. “You don’t always know when that’s going to happen. It’s one of

those things that I prepare like I’m the guy right now. Hopefully, Aaron comes

back. Who knows? It’s not fair to myself, my teammates or anyone else if I

don’t prepare like I’m going to take the first snap on Sunday.

“If they tell me Aaron’s playing today, tomorrow,

whenever it is, that’s part of the job, that’s part of the gig. I go out there

and mentally do the things that I would normally do if I was the full-time

starter.”

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