GREEN BAY, Wis. — Aaron Rodgers‘ season started with a knee injury and ended with a concussion.
The Green Bay Packers quarterback left Sunday’s season finale against the Detroit Lions after just three series. He took a hard hit on his first dropback of the game, got sacked by linebacker Jarrad Davis and lost his helmet on the play. He stayed in for two more series before he walked to the locker room with a member of the medical staff.
It’s at least the third known concussion of Rodgers’ NFL career. He suffered two during the 2010 season, the year in which the Packers won the Super Bowl. He did not miss a game after his first concussion, which occurred in Week 5. He missed one game later in the year after he sustained a concussion in Week 14 at Detroit.
The Packers opted to play Rodgers in a meaningless game even with a banged-up offensive line. Neither of their preferred starting guards played. Instead, Lucas Patrick and Justin McCray replaced Lane Taylor (who was active but did not start) and Byron Bell (who is on injured reserve). Also, left tackle David Bakhtiari was on the injury report all week because of a hip injury from late in last week’s overtime win against the Jets. He made it through the first half but did not start the second half.
Rodgers also started the game without his leading receiver, Davante Adams, whose knee injury prevented him from breaking the franchise record for receptions in a season. He needed just two more catches to surpass Sterling Sharpe’s team record of 112.
Rodgers insisted on playing even after the Packers were eliminated from playoff contention in Week 15, citing the importance from a leadership standpoint. Interim coach Joe Philbin, team president Mark Murphy and general manager Brian Gutekunst were all in agreement about allowing Rodgers to play.
The Packers were down 7-0 when Rodgers left the field for the final time. Shortly before he walked to the locker room, the Lions executed a fake field goal to take a 14-0 lead that grew to 21-0 by halftime.
DeShone Kizer, the former Cleveland Browns starter who came to Green Bay in an offseason trade, replaced Rodgers. It was his first significant action since Rodgers missed part of the season opener against the Bears when he hurt his left knee. Rodgers returned in that game to rally the Packers to a win from down 20-0.
Rodgers has said several times this season that he might need surgery on his injured left knee after the season. It’s possible that surgery could take place as early as this week.