Aaron Rodgers’ COVID-19 saga might rekindle QB’s long-term future with Packers

Aaron Rodgers and Jordan Love have had remarkably similar entrées into the NFL.

However their paths may have diverged Sunday, perhaps profoundly so.

Both were notable first-round draft picks of the Green Bay Packers, the 15-year gulf between them bridged by the fact each immediately became the apprentice of a legendary superstar. They became quasi-curiosities, leaders of the Pack in waiting – presumably talented passers based on their college résumés, but unproven commodities as young pros whiling away their time on the pine.

And maybe most notably, both were thrust into the starting role amid circumstances created by the aforementioned legendary superstars – Rodgers moving atop the depth chart because Brett Favre wanted no part of the NFL’s offseason demands and (temporarily) retired to skirt them, and Love thrown into the lineup because Rodgers wanted no part of a scientifically vetted COVID-19 vaccine before contracting the virus himself … despite an alternative remedy he believes enhanced his immunity.

But once each of them got onto the field in a meaningful spot? That’s where their narratives might fork.

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Packers QBs Aaron Rodgers and Jordan Love (10) have been teammates for two seasons.

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I’ve always taken extra interest in Rodgers. I was at the 2005 NFL draft, when the Cal star got a Bronx cheer in Manhattan’s Javits Center once the Packers rescued him with the 24th pick – after he’d festered backstage for hours when the San Francisco 49ers bypassed him with the No. 1 selection before nearly two dozen other teams followed suit. Seasons later, I dispatched a USA TODAY reporter to Green Bay’s training camp to check in on Rodgers, knowing he was destined to sit behind Favre for another year, and was told what a delightful,…

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