Don’t get them wrong, the Packers are glad to have Aaron Rodgers back this week.
But they had learned over the last month not to get their hopes up.
Packers guard T.J. Lang said he had insulated himself against the possibility of bad news when he was driving to work Thursday, only to find out when he got there that Rodgers was scheduled to play against the Bears in the regular season finale.
“I honestly didn’t think he was going to play,” Lang said, via Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune. “The last three or four weeks, when he was close, I learned not to get my hopes up. To hear that news on those Fridays that he was not playing, it was tough. . . .
“Everybody just kind of smiled. It’s one of those things where you’re like, ‘Finally, man.’ It was almost a sigh of relief. The news gives you a little spark.”
Getting Rodgers back will be a huge lift for the Packers, who went 2-4-1 in his absence from a broken collarbone, yet remain able to clinch a playoff berth if they beat the Bears.
“Just because Aaron is the quarterback doesn’t mean we’re going to be able to go down there, have him walk out of the tunnel first and we get a win,” wide receiver Jordy Nelson said. “Everyone is going to have to do their job. Going into Chicago to beat Chicago isn’t going to be easy.”
Of course, having Rodgers makes it much more possible.