Credit Mike Roemer/Associated Press
The Green Bay Packers put themselves in an awkward position when they returned quarterback Aaron Rodgers to injured reserve after they had been eliminated from playoff contention last week. That move theoretically could have resulted in the team’s being forced to release Rodgers, a two-time winner of the N.F.L.’s Most Valuable Player Award.
Rodgers, who broke his right collarbone in a Week 6 loss to Minnesota, was activated from injured reserve in time to start Green Bay’s game against the Carolina Panthers on Dec. 17. He nearly kept his team in the playoff hunt, but a 31-24 loss eliminated the Packers. Two days later, Coach Mike McCarthy reported that Rodgers was “sore,” and the quarterback was placed on injured reserve for a second time.
According to an ESPN report, several teams complained to the league office, saying the Packers had violated a rule that prevents a player from returning to injured reserve unless his injury is serious enough to keep him inactive for at least six weeks.
Because the severity of Rodgers’s condition was unknown and the Packers had only two games remaining after he returned to injured reserve, the contention was that Rodgers did not meet the criteria for placement on injured reserve and that league rules required the Packers to release him.
The Packers, however, seem unconcerned about the legitimacy of the transaction, because it was approved by the league.
“Frankly, I don’t see any issue with Aaron Rodgers going on I.R.,” McCarthy told reporters on Sunday. “My understanding is we communicated, followed the procedures and guidelines that you have to, to put a player on I.R. So from our perspective, there’s no issue.”