The Green Bay Packers’ two-time MVP quarterback reveals that he started all 16 games of the 2018 season with a fracture in the top of his lower leg bone.
“I had a tibial plateau fracture, and obviously an MCL sprain, so that was very painful,” said Rodgers about the injury he took from a hit by a Chicago Bears player in the 2018 season opener at Lambeau Field. Rodgers came back in the second half of that game, threw three fourth-quarter touchdown passes and led the Packers to a 20-point comeback and a victory.
“It was the lateral side. If you watch the hit back, my two bones (which) come together on the outside kind of made an indent fracture. Very painful. The good thing was, it’s not super weight-bearing, load-bearing every single time, but there are definitely some movements and things you do naturally that affected it.”
Rodgers also described his MCL injury as “frustrating,” one which was reset when the Detroit Lions’ Christian Jones tackled him during a game they played in 2018.
“I really wasn’t 100 percent the entire year. It’s not an excuse for the way I played or didn’t play, but it limited my mobility for a good part of the season,” he admitted, specifically delving into the number of passes he purposely threw out of bounds to avoid sacks and interceptions.
“Obviously, we had a number of throwaways. I’m not sure what the NFL number was, but I know we were averaging almost four a game, and that’s going to hurt your completion percentage. There were some times that the mobility definitely hurt me where in years past, I could extend plays or really get out and threaten running the ball or throwing on the run. It affected some of those throws on the run where I wasn’t just throwing the ball away.”
Rodgers also admitted that during the team’s season finale against Detroit, his concussion left him temporarily without the ability to see, but he continued to play.
“I couldn’t see. I lost vision. Definitely peripheral. I got hit and I came over to the sidelines and I was sitting on the bench and I went back out there. By that third series, the normal 180-plus peripheral shrunk to, like, blinders,” he explained, saying he did not have any lingering concussion effects and could have played the next week.
“It’s the first time in my career, I took myself out of a game.”
However, he says now he feels “great,” particularly after a visit to New Zealand in the first few months of the offseason.
“I’ve made some changes in my offseason training regiment and approach, and my team around me, which I think is going to help.”
Even beyond the tumult of the Bleacher Report article written about his relationship with Coach Mike McCarthy, one which he strongly refuted Monday, Rodgers’ offseason has had its share of emotions – particularly surrounding the retirement of longtime teammate Jordy Nelson who left Green Bay for one season in Oakland.
“It’s not that easy. If it was that easy, I would have called a lot of people: Charles, John, J.J., Cobbie, Jordy, on down the list, Tausch (laughs). Do I think we could do something? No doubt about it. We just have a connection,” said Rodgers.
“But he’s happy retired, and I wa teasing him for a while that he would be a California lifer. He’s definitely still out there…but he’s heading back to Kansas. He has some farming to do.”
In the meantime, you could sense Rodgers salivating during the interview at what the Packers’ currently have in their corps of wide receivers, particularly their current No. 1 option.
“The 17 we got, you might know him, he goes by the name of Davante (Adams). He’s special. He’s a different type of guy than we’ve ever had. From a personality standpoint, he’s a fantastic locker room guy, great leader. He’s scary enough in his room and the locker room that the guys listen to him, because he’s passionate, and people follow passion,” said Rodgers.
“When you’re talking about his ability at the line of scrimmage to beat people, fast enough to get on top, athletic enough after he catches the ball, he’s a different type of player.”
In the final part of the interview, Rodgers discussed whether the Packers’ expectations should be mitigated, considering a 6-9-1 season in 2018, a new coaching staff and two teams ahead of them in the NFC North standings last year who will again be contenders.
“This is Titletown. We should expect us to bounce back. I expect to. Our team expects to,” said Rodgers.
“I’m excited about the additions we’ve made. I love Mike Pettine, he’s a fantastic coach. There are going to be no excuses this year. We don’t need a grace period. We all expect to get something rolling. Hopefully we can get that rolling and come together as a team and do something great.”