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Philbin not planning to sit Aaron Rodgers for final tilts

The Green Bay Packers were eliminated from the playoffs with Sunday's loss to the Chicago Bears.

Despite having little tangible to play for, interim head coach Joe Philbin doesn't plan to shut down quarterback Aaron Rodgers for the final two weeks.

"I think when you sign up for the 2018 NFL season, you sign up for a 16-game season and hopefully you earn the opportunity to extend that and to compete for a championship," Philbin said, via ESPN's Rob Demovsky. "Obviously the extension part is over. That being said, you're a football player, you're part of a team and your one role is to the contribute to the overall success of the team. And the team has an opportunity to win a game Sunday against the New York Jets, and if our players, they should want to participate because they're good teammates and they should. I think that's their obligation to the team. So we'll see. If there are other discussions contrary to that, we'll certainly cross that bridge and discuss it.

"Again, I think it's bigger than Aaron Rodgers. This is a football team. You're a football player. You're employed by the Green Bay Packers just like if players or coaches were to say, 'Geez I'd like to go home tonight and not prepare as hard for this game because we're not going to the playoffs,' I mean, that's not a professional approach to the job, I don't think."

Rodgers has stated he wants to close out the season on the field. A quarterback saying anything otherwise would be unheard of. Any signal-caller would lose a lot of weight in the locker room if he openly lobbied to sit while others put their body on the line.

Rodgers' desire to play doesn't mean he should. The quarterback suffered a knee injury in Week 1 that he dealt with all season. On Sunday, he tweaked his groin on the final play of the first half. Rodgers didn't miss a snap, but admitted it "bothered me a little bit."

The Packers could use the groin injury as a reason to keep their $134 million investment in bubble wrap the rest of the season.

As of Monday, however, Philbin has no plans to sit Rodgers.

"In the general sense, my philosophy is football players are paid to play football games, and football coaches are paid to coach football games, so obviously we have to go through the week and we would never put any player out there that wasn't physically ready to go," Philbin said. "But that's my general philosophy and overall philosophy whether it's Aaron Rodgers or anybody else. We're the Green Bay Packers, we're a football team and we're in the business of winning football games, and we want all our players who are healthy to contribute to the overall success of the team. Period."

There is always a chance that management points out to Philbin that Rodgers might not be completely "healthy" as the week moves on, nudging DeShone Kizer into the lineup.

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