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I do not wish Packers QB Rodgers would get hurt Thursday, I fear it

November 23, 2011
The Mining Journal

Let me make myself crystal clear as a lifelong Green Bay Packers fan, whose fantasy football team also happens to be rely on the services of a certain No. 12 wearing green and gold.

I do not want Aaron Rodgers to get injured Thursday. I do fear it, however.

I obviously wasn't very clear about this in Monday's column previewing the Thanksgiving showdown and regret if anyone mistook the meaning of my words.

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The Green Bay Packers appear to be walking into a perfect storm, though, at Ford Field in Detroit with as big of a target you can get.

The Packers are the defending Super Bowl champions. They are a perfect 10-0. They are led by the hottest person in professional sports right now in Super Bowl XLV MVP Aaron Rodgers.

What do you expect the Lions to do? Lay down and throw flowers at the feet of the royal Packers?

Since the schedule was released during the lockout, I've had a bad feeling about this game and not just because I believe the Packers are primed to suffer a loss.

Facing a highly aggressive Detroit Lions defensive line that has accumulated its fair share of yellow flags and fines for late hits to the quarterback this season, I fear for Rodgers' safety.

Rodgers' tendency to hang in the pocket for extended periods of time and his ability to extend plays or gain yards with his legs is a blessing.

It's also a curse that can be exploited greatly by the Lions, who have shown no mercy against opposing quarterbacks this year.

Take the Chicago Bears' Jay Cutler two weeks ago, who was the victim of two vicious hits by Detroit's Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley.

Suh ripped Culter's helmet off while pursuing the Bears' QB from behind on one instance and Fairley forcefully drove Cutler into the ground on another. Only Fairley was fined.

While Cutler walked away unscathed - though he ended up breaking his thumb in San Diego a week later - Rodgers may not be so lucky, especially with his history of concussions.

Rodgers suffered at least two reported concussions last season, the first coming against the Washington Redskins and the second at Ford Field against the Detroit Lions.

The third possible concussion Rodgers may have suffered last season was against the Bears in the NFC Championship game after a shot to the jaw from Julius Peppers.

Despite being a bit wobbly and dazed, Rodgers remained in the game and the rest was history. He may not be so lucky the next time around, like if he takes a shot from Suh or Fairley.

Since concussions tend to happen more frequently after the first and get worse with every occurrence, the next hit to Rodgers' head could be his last in professional football.

One more time, I do not hope the Lions injure Rodgers. I fear it, especially with Suh's style of play.

The Cornhusker plays with extreme enthusiasm and aggression and when channelled correctly, he's an exciting player to watch.

Too often, however, he recklessly throws his body at opposing quarterbacks head first.

And if it's not his head, it's his flailing elbow.

The worst is Suh seems to show no remorse for his style of play.

"I'm not going to change the way I play," Suh said to the AP following his meeting with commissioner Roger Goodell this season. "I feel that the way I'm playing and the way I have played in the past is continuing to play within the rules."

I hope I'm just being paranoid and that everyone walks away unscathed Thanksgiving Day at Ford Field. It would be even better if the Packers walked away with win No. 11.

For once, the crow would actually have a sweet taste to it, or at least be sweeter than the bitter taste Lions fans would have losing on Thanksgiving.

I have my fears, I have my doubts, and hopefully now they are a little more clear this time around.

Matt Wellens can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 252.



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