The guys give their predictions for Sunday’s showdown between the New Orleans Saints and the Green Bay Packers.
GREEN BAY – Minnesota Vikings linebacker Anthony Barr said he was not trying to injure Aaron Rodgers with a hit that fractured the Green Bay Packers quarterback’s right collarbone Sunday and ultimately sent him to injured reserve.
Rodgers tweeted late Thursday night that surgery to repair his collarbone “went well” and included an Instagram picture of himself in a hospital bed. Coach Mike McCarthy said Rodgers’ surgery was done outside Green Bay, and team doctor Patrick McKenzie was not the surgeon.
By being placed on injured reserve Friday, Rodgers will miss at least eight weeks of the season. He won’t be eligible to practice for six weeks. Earlier this week, an orthopedic specialist told PackersNews.com the soonest he would expect Rodgers to play in a best-case scenario is 10 weeks after the injury.
Barr’s hit received questionable reviews in Green Bay. McCarthy called it an illegal act, but Barr was not penalized during the game, and the NFL did not fine him for the hit this week.
“By no means was I trying to take out Aaron Rodgers,” Barr told reporters in Minnesota on Friday. “He’s one of, if not the best, player in this league. I’m not a dirty player. I don’t play dirty. We don’t preach that around here. It’s unfortunate, the injury. I hate to see anybody get hurt. I know how hard you work 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 to take that away from anybody, let alone one of the best players in our game.
“I think it’s a dirty play in some people’s eyes because of the injury. I think if he gets up, we’re not having this conversation. I wish him a speedy recovery. One of my favorite players to compete against, to play against. I got the utmost respect for him and the whole entire Packers organization. So I would never try to injure anybody, especially their quarterback.’’
Barr was unavailable to provide his account of the hit until Friday because he received a concussion later in Sunday’s game, and players are off limits to the media while in concussion protocol. Barr finally cleared Friday morning.
By halftime, Barr said, he had more than 3,000 notifications on Twitter, and most of them were predictably unkind. He hasn’t privately heard from anybody with the Packers this week, he said. Publicly, he was aware of the criticisms coming from McCarthy and Packers players.
On Friday, Barr was asked specifically about McCarthy’s belief his hit was against the rules.
“Everybody has their own opinion,” Barr said. “A lot of people are saying a lot of different things. I know my intent was not to injure. I know I’m out there trying to play as hard as I can as fast I can to the best of my ability every time I touch the field.
“I hate to see anybody injured. I didn’t really realize he was injured until he kind of was walking off the sideline. I wish him a full and speedy recovery.’’
One of the complaints with Barr’s hit was the contact coming after Rodgers threw his pass. In slow motion, Barr takes one stride before the hit.
Barr said the play unfolded so fast, contact was impossible to avoid.
“Everybody has the still photo of him getting the ball out,” Barr said, “and that’s less than a quarter of a second after that, that I was tackling him. It’s just football. It happens. It’s unfortunate.”
Backup quarterback Brett Hundley will start Sunday for the Packers when they host the New Orleans Saints at Lambeau Field. Rodgers will not be at Sunday’s game.
“He’s out of town,” McCarthy said. “He’s in recovery mode right now.”