Packers QB Aaron Rodgers tests positive for COVID-19, will not play in Week 9 vs. Chiefs

The NFL's hottest team will be without its most important player Sunday.

Aaron Rodgers tested positive for COVID-19 and is out for Green Bay's showdown with the Kansas City Chiefs, NFL Network's Tom Pelissero reported. Rodgers was placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list and 2020 first-round pick Jordan Love will start in place of Rodgers.

Despite telling reporters in August he'd "been immunized," Rodgers is not vaccinated against COVID-19, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport and NFL Network's Mike Garafolo reported. Rodgers must spend a mandatory 10 days away from the team, according to the league's COVID-19 protocol, ruling him out for the Packers' Week 9 game against the Chiefs. The earliest Rodgers can rejoin the team is Nov. 13 -- the day before their Week 10 matchup against the Seahawks.

Rodgers previously had sought and was denied an exemption from the NFL-NFL Players Association COVID-19 protocols based on his antibody levels this summer, which left his status as unvaccinated, NFL Media reported Wednesday.

Rodgers received homeopathic treatment from his personal doctor to raise his antibody levels and asked the NFLPA to review his status. The players' union, the NFL-NFLPA jointly designated infectious disease consultant and the league agreed that Rodgers' treatment did not provide any documented protection from the coronavirus.

Accordingly, Rodgers did not qualify for an exemption, and he remained subject to a variety of restrictions, including daily testing, mask-wearing and high-risk close contact protocol that would force him to isolate for five days based on interaction with a positive individual, even if he tested negative.

If his antibody levels are high enough, Rodgers could be considered fully vaccinated with just one shot. The NFL-NFLPA regular-season COVID protocols allow for an individual to become fully vaccinated via "a quantitative antibody test (taken at the club facility and administered by BioReference Laboratory personnel after Aug. 26, 2021 and before the individual has received any dose of a COVID vaccine) demonstrating COVID total antibody levels (IgG, IgA, IgM) to the spike protein of 100 U/mL or greater, and a positive antibody test to the COVID IgG nucleocapsid protein, and 14 days have passed since the individual received one dose of any COVID vaccine (Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer or Moderna)."

Sources, however, told NFL Media that Rodgers has not received one of the COVID-19 vaccines.

After telling reporters the Packers are "all hands on deck" with Rodgers out, coach Matt LaFleur was asked if the QB's August comment may have been misleading, to which he replied, "It's a great question for Aaron, I'm not going to comment on it," per the Green Bay Press-Gazette.

When asked if he'd consider Rodgers to be selfish for electing not to get the vaccine, LaFleur replied: "I think everybody has to make their own personal decision, and that's just is what it is."

The Packers also will be without practice squad quarterback Kurt Benkert this week as he tested positive for the virus earlier this week. LaFleur noted that general manager Brian Gutekunst has been working to bring another QB in for depth purposes.

The Packers must look toward Week 9 with Love as their man. The second-year passer saw his most action during the preseason and impressed in a limited amount of snaps, teaming with Devin Funchess and Kylin Hill to move the ball effectively in Weeks 1 and 3 of the exhibition slate. Love also entered during garbage time of Green Bay's Week 1 loss -- the Packers' lone defeat this season -- completing 5 of 7 passes for 68 yards.

Love's replacement of Rodgers should lower expectations for offensive production for the Packers, but that might not change the minds of those expecting Green Bay to win. Kansas City has found itself in an offensive rut for much of the season and needed a late field goal to beat the now 2-6 Giants at Arrowhead Stadium on Monday night. A much stronger Packers team should present a greater challenge to the Chiefs, even if Rodgers isn't involved.

Love will have the rest of the week to prepare to make his first regular-season start of his career in the hostile confines of Arrowhead. Rodgers, meanwhile, will spend it recuperating at home.

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