Aaron Rodgers: Is Playoff Spot Really Worth Being Next Austin Collie?

Brian DiTullioSenior Writer IDecember 22, 2010

DETROIT - DECEMBER 12: Andrew Quarless #81 and Tom Crabtree #83 of the Green Bay Packers helps Aaron Rogers #12 of the Green Bay Packers up during the second quarter of the game against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field on December 12, 2010 in Detroit, Michigan.  (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
Leon Halip/Getty Images

Aaron Rodgers was cleared to return to play this week by the doctors, but after two concussions in one season, should Rodgers even try?

Austin Collie, after suffering his second concussion of the season, was placed on the Colts injured reserve list this week. His season is over, and his concussion count becomes a factor going forward the rest of his career.

Rodgers has two concussions this season, and there's no reason to think he couldn't come right out and get a third concussion. With the Packers looking just fine with Matt Flynn against the New England Patriots last week, Rodgers really should be thinking about his future.

Rodgers isn't the only one in this conversation, though, as the Packers organization also should be thinking about their franchise quarterback. The Packers invested a lot of money in this guy, and they're being reckless in even considering throwing him out on the field at this point.

Rodgers has proven he's the quarterback for the Packers for at least the next six or seven years, and should the Packers win their last two games, they're going to need him for the playoffs.

Matt Flynn, after a rocky start in Detroit, proved he's a lot better when he's had time to prepare. There's no reason he can't finish out the regular season while the team makes sure Rodgers brain injury heals completely.

If the new focus on concussions and recovery from the injury have shown anything, it's that just because you pass a neurological test doesn't mean you're 100 percent ready to go.

Just like taping up an ankle or knee, the player is going back into the game injured, except instead of a limb, it's the brain, and you kind of need that to keep functioning at all. Just as a player may play on a sore ankle, so can a player play with a headache. They're not supposed to, but that doesn't mean it doesn't happen.

Rodgers also needs to make sure he doesn't become the next Troy Aikman. Aikman retired at the age of 34 after receiving the 10th concussion of his professional career. Aikman still was physically healthy enough otherwise that he should've had another few years left in him.

Rodgers just turned 27 and now has two in one year. Coming in this week could lead to a third. While a third concussion is very possible before the end of his career, it would be better if it wasn't coming so soon after the first two.

The next two games are against the New York Giants and the Chicago Bears. Both defenses are tough, and the Giants defense has knocked quite a few quarterbacks out of games this year.

Rodgers is reported to be taking the majority of the snaps in practice this week, so this argument isn't being given much weight, which is a shame because if Rodgers is knocked silly again, and if the Packers still make the playoffs, Rodgers may be watching those games from the sidelines instead of participating in uniform.

UPDATE: When the story was first written, various reliable news sources were referring to Austin Collie's concussion as his third. That has changed and the story was updated to reflect that.