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Friday, December 27, 2013
Packers' plan for Rodgers: 'Cut him loose'

By Rob Demovsky

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- The last thing Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy wants is for his franchise quarterback to reinjure his fractured collarbone on Sunday against the Chicago Bears.

But that doesn't mean McCarthy will play it ultra-safe when Aaron Rodgers makes his first appearance since his Nov. 4 injury against those same Bears.

Aaron Rodgers
Aaron Rodgers hasn't played since breaking his collarbone Nov. 4 in this season's first meeting with the Bears.
McCarthy made it clear on Friday that he doesn't have any reservations about Rodgers' return.

“To me, that goes back to the decision,” he said. “If we were thinking that way, the decision wouldn't be what it is. The decision's been made. Obviously it was a thorough one, and it's time for Aaron to play. We're going to cut him loose, and we're going to go play. We're going to play to win.”

For weeks, the Packers made it perfectly clear what kept Rodgers from returning to game action. McCarthy repeatedly said Rodgers had not been cleared medically.

In the two days since McCarthy announced Rodgers will start Sunday's game at Soldier Field, no one in the organization has once uttered the “M” word.

When McCarthy declared on Thursday that Rodgers would return from his Nov. 4 injury, he would not divulge any details about the final steps that it took to get Rodgers back on the field. Neither would Rodgers.

“I don't think that's appropriate,” Rodgers said Thursday. “The decision was made. It was told to the team. I found out when the team did, and we're just moving forward.”

When asked specifically on Friday whether team physician Dr. Pat McKenzie gave his blessing for Rodgers to return, McCarthy would only say: “Aaron Rodgers has been cleared to play. I don't know what else you need.”

So it remains uncertain whether there was any hesitation by McKenzie. As recently as Tuesday of this week, there was still some indecision. According to McCarthy, not all of the evaluations had been completed before the team broke for the Christmas holiday on Wednesday.

The Packers don't make their medical or training staff members available to the media, and general manager Ted Thompson has not been willing to comment on the situation, but a team spokesman told ESPNWisconsin.com that Rodgers' return was “a unified decision.”