Green Bay Packer fans mourn star quarterback Aaron Rodgers’ injury

    After surgery on his broken collarbone, Rodgers could potentially return to the field

    More stories from Stephanie Smith


    Photo by Sam Farley

    UW-Eau Claire students gathered on Thursday, Oct. 26 in the Davies Center for an Aaron Rodgers prayer vigil, hoping for the star quarterback’s timely return to the field after suffering a collarbone injury on Oct. 16.

    The Green Bay Packers suffered a difficult loss to the Minnesota Vikings last Sunday with multiple injuries to the players.

    Star quarterback Aaron Rodgers was among those injured, ending the first quarter with a broken collarbone.

    Rodgers rolled outside the pocket to his right and made a pass that fell incomplete, suffering a rough tackle by Viking linebacker, Anthony Barr.

    According to USA Today, no flags were thrown on the play, and though Rodgers appeared to snarl at Barr as he left the field, former NFL head of officials Mike Pereira said the tackle was completely legal.

    Barr spoke about the play on Friday, and acknowledged that if it had happened to his own quarterback, he’d probably think it was a dirty play too.

    “It’s unfortunate. I hate to see anybody get hurt,” Barr said. “I know how hard he works each week to prepare to be able to play. It’s a gift and a privilege to be able to play on the field each week, so I would never try and take that away from anybody, let alone one of the best players in our game.”

    Initially after the official announcement of Rodgers broken collarbone, it was rumored he would be out for the rest of the season. However, according to Sports Illustrated, after Rodgers’ surgery on Thursday, the Packers placed him on injured reserved, providing a possibility of returning to play in eight weeks.

    Rodgers posted a picture of himself after surgery on Instagram with a caption: “Surgery went well. Thanks for all the love, support, thoughts and prayers. #comebackstartsnow #riseagain.”

    Second-string quarterback Brett Hundley stepped up to make his debut following Rodgers’ injury. He played as starting quarterback on Sunday against the New Orleans Saints where the Packers lost 26-17.

    According to SBNation, Hundley had his ups and down in the game against the Saints.

    Hundley showcased solid pocket awareness and extend plays. His third-down touchdown scramble in the second quarter showcased his vision and toughness while giving the Pack a 14-7 lead.

    Although he had a decent first half, Hundley’s second half wasn’t as up to par.

    Hundley struggled to find his sweet spot, alternating between under-throws and overthrows as his receivers tried to adjust to their new passer. He rarely looked deep, and when he did, he chucked the ball to places where his own receivers couldn’t make a play.

    It’s also clear he doesn’t have Rodgers’ knowledge of the playbook or ability to clear up confusion and direct plays at the line of scrimmage.

    Lately, a constant question in sports news has been whether Packers will be able to do well this season without Rodgers.

    Luke Praschak, a fifth-year senior geography student at UW-Eau Claire, said he was sad to see Rodgers get hurt because he is a huge Packer fan.

    “It is not only terrible for a Packer fan but also for the NFL in general,” Praschak said. “Having a huge star player like Aaron Rodgers go down takes a big toll at the NFL ratings and the interest level goes down a lot. I know my interest in watching the NFL had gone down since he got hurt.”

    According to ESPN, the Packers’ goal remains the same for this season even if they have to change the way they play without Rodgers. Hundley said he intends to lead the team.

    “I think Brett will be alright,” Praschak said. “The only thing I question is the Packer’s D (defense). Their defense can never stop anybody and since we have Aaron Rodgers, he is able to make up for a lot of their errors. Brett is obviously not Aaron Rodgers and can’t do some of the stuff he does, but we will see if Mike McCarthy can call plays for a new player like Brett.”

    Rodgers’ injury may be a blessing in disguise to those non-Packer fans such as Viking fan, Jonah Sirianni, an Eau Claire senior human resources student.

    “It sucks that he got hurt; nobody wants to see anyone get hurt, especially a star in the league,” Sirianni said. “But for the Vikings, it is more of a relief we don’t have to see him for the rest of the year. He is great, there is no debating that, but it is kind of nice for us.”

    Hundley will have a week off to practice during the Packers’ bye before they play the Detroit Lions at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 6 at Lambeau Field.