GREEN BAY, Wis. — Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers will have surgery on his broken right collarbone “in the near future,” coach Mike McCarthy said Monday.
The quarterback’s season “potentially could be over,” but when asked if he’d consider bringing in a veteran quarterback, McCarthy was clear.
“I’ve got three years invested in Brett Hundley, two years invested in Joe Callahan,” McCarthy said. “The quarterback room is exactly where it needs to be, OK? We’re fortunate to have a great quarterback in Aaron Rodgers. We’re committed to the path that we’re on. We need to play better as a football team.”
McCarthy was adamant that he plans to go forward with Hundley as his starter and Callahan, who was promoted from the practice squad on Monday, as the backup. It’s possible the Packers might add a practice-squad or No. 3 developmental quarterback.
The team won’t make a decision on Rodgers until after the procedure, so he remains on the roster.
Hundley, who replaced Rodgers in Sunday’s 23-10 loss to the Minnesota Vikings, will make his first start Sunday against the New Orleans Saints at Lambeau Field. At this time, there has been no consideration given to bringing in a veteran such as Colin Kaepernick, Robert Griffin III or even Tony Romo.
Rodgers broke his right collarbone after Vikings linebacker Anthony Barr hit him in the first quarter Sunday. The quarterback was rolling out to his right with Barr pressuring him. As Rodgers threw, Barr hit him in the midsection and drove him into the turf, where Rodgers landed on his shoulder.
McCarthy took issue with Barr’s hit.
“He’s out of the pocket, he’s clearly expecting to get hit,” McCarthy said. “To pin him to the ground like that, I felt it was an illegal act. To sit here and lose any of your players on something like that, it doesn’t feel very good. Yeah, I didn’t like the hit. It was unnecessary … totally unnecessary, in my opinion.”
Vikings coach Mike Zimmer thought the hit was clean.
“We’re playing football,” Zimmer said. “It’s unfortunate that he got hurt but I think everything was above board. We’re not a dirty football team. We’ll never be a dirty football team as long as I’m here. We’re going to play within the rules and sometimes things happen.”
Rodgers missed seven starts in 2013 when he broke his left collarbone. This time he is expected to be out longer because it’s his throwing shoulder. Rodgers did not have surgery four years ago.
Hundley threw one touchdown pass and three interceptions in relief of Rodgers. Two of the interceptions came on deflected passes. The former fifth-round pick out of UCLA played well in his rookie preseason in 2015, when he led the league in exhibition passing yards while throwing seven touchdown passes and one interception.
“He brings a lot of tools to the table,” Packers offensive coordinator Edgar Bennett said. “I think it all starts with his overall preparation and his command in the huddle. You look at the way he’s performed in the preseason, I think he’s a unique player. Go back to his college days, the plays that he made stood out. We know that we have a player that we have all the confidence in.”
After Sunday’s game, the mood in the Packers’ locker room was somber.
“It’s devastating, no question about it,” Packers receiver Randall Cobb said. “First and foremost, it’s one of my closest friends, so to see him go down with that, it’s tough. But we’ve still got to play football. We’ve got a long season ahead of us, and we’ve got to figure out what we’re going to do.”
On Monday, McCarthy tried to turn the attention forward even though there are other injury issues on the offensive line (where three starters dropped out Sunday) and in the secondary (where three starters were inactive and a fourth, cornerback Quinten Rollins, was placed on injured reserve to make room for Callahan).
“We are ready and fired up to go get them Saints,” McCarthy said. “I mean, that’s the mood, it was important to shift gears. We took the later part of our meetings today and focused on getting on to the Saints video. We usually wait ’til Wednesday to do that. Had a bunch of corrections to go through by segment to the offense, defense, special teams. But we’re looking forward to playing again after our performance yesterday.”