Patriots

Aaron Rodgers suffers broken collarbone, may miss remainder of season

Aaron Rodgers suffers broken collarbone, may miss remainder of season

MINNEAPOLIS -- Walking gingerly to the sideline with his throwing shoulder throbbing in pain, Aaron Rodgers turned back toward the field and barked at Minnesota Vikings linebacker Anthony Barr.

Rodgers likely already knew that his season was in jeopardy after Barr's hit broke his collarbone, and the fiery quarterback's frustration boiled over.

Now the Green Bay Packers have to try to make sure their season as a whole doesn't go down the drain with it.

Rodgers was knocked out of the 23-10 loss to the Vikings in the first quarter on Sunday with an injury that could cause him to miss the remainder of the season .

It's a crushing blow to a team that entered the season with Super Bowl aspirations, optimism based primarily on the right arm of one of the game's best quarterbacks.

"It's devastating," receiver Randall Cobb said. "No question about it. First and foremost, that is one of my closest friends, so to see him go down with that is tough. We still have to play football. We have a long season ahead of us to figure out what we are going to do."

Brett Hundley, the only other quarterback on the roster outside of practice squad player Joe Callahan, was rushed into duty. He finished 18 of 33 for 157 yards with one touchdown and three interceptions.

"Losing Aaron Rodgers speaks for itself," Packers coach Mike McCarthy said. "In my opinion, he's the best player in football. This is the ultimate team game. We need to be better with the 11 people on the field that we have, regardless of the phase that we're in. Ultimately that's my responsibility."

Colin Kaepernick, who has had difficulty finding a job since becoming the face of league-wide demonstrations during the national anthem that protest social injustice, and Tony Romo, who joined CBS as an analyst after retiring from the Dallas Cowboys, could be outside options to fill in for Rodgers. But McCarthy said after the game he was not considering anything like that yet.

"Brett Hundley and Joe Callahan, that's what we're going with," he said.

Despite several key injuries to the secondary, the Packers entered the game Sunday against their NFC North rivals at 4-1 after Rodgers engineered a game-winning touchdown drive to beat the Dallas Cowboys last week.

Vikings coach Mike Zimmer's defense has always gotten after Rodgers in these tense matchups, and it happened again in the first quarter when Barr drove him into the turf after he got rid of a roll-out pass.

The impact did not appear to be that violent at first glance as Rodgers rolled through the hit. But it became apparent quickly that he was in considerable pain. He writhed on the turf as McCarthy argued for a roughing the passer penalty.

"I know Anthony Barr personally," said Hundley, a fellow UCLA alum. "I wouldn't imagine he's a dirty player. I didn't really get a good look at it."

Rodgers rode a cart to the locker room for further tests and remained there throughout the first half. He was initially deemed questionable, but the Packers announced after halftime that he would not return to the game.

"He's the best in the game so I hate to see that for him," Vikings safety Harrison Smith said.

Since becoming the full-time starter in 2008, Rodgers has been remarkably durable. He missed seven games in 2013 with a fractured collarbone, but he has started 132 of the other 134 games during that time period.

Of course, being able to count on a quarterback to take the snaps is nothing new for Green Bay. Since Brett Favre took over for the injured Don Majkowski in the third game of the 1992 season, the Packers have had Favre and Rodgers for all but nine games.

Matt Flynn, Scott Tolzien and Seneca Wallace were forced to fill in while Rodgers was out in 2013 and the Packers went 2-4-1 in that stretch. Flynn started once in 2010 when Rodgers sat out with a concussion and again in 2011 when he rested during the regular-season finale with the Packers having clinched the top seed in the NFC playoffs.

Favre never sat at all.

Hundley had only thrown 11 passes over the course of his first two-plus seasons in the league before jumping in on Sunday.

"I hope (at)AaronRodgers12 is OK!" Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman tweeted. "The league is better when he's healthy. Praying for you."

BEST OF BST PODCAST: Patriots advance to AFC title game vs. Jaguars

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BEST OF BST PODCAST: Patriots advance to AFC title game vs. Jaguars

0:41 - Tom Curran and Albert Breer discuss some of the big takeaways from the Patriots win over the Titans in the Divisional Round of the playoffs.

4:49 - Jalen Ramsey told the fans in Jacksonville that the Jaguars would be going to the Super Bowl. Michael Holley, Tom Giles, and Kayce Smith talk about if they have a problem with what Ramsey said and if the Patriots would be using his quote as bulletin board material.

9:25 - Curran, Breer, and Giles discuss Matt Patricia and Josh McDaniels likely not returning with the Patriots as Patricia seems to be headed towards the Lions while McDaniels goes to the Colts.

14:06 - Michael Hurley joins BST to preview the Jaguars/Patriots matchup and discuss the Patriots schedule and road to the Super Bowl. 

Patriots react to Ramsey's guarantee: He should be confident

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Patriots react to Ramsey's guarantee: He should be confident

FOXBORO -- Patriots players didn't seem all that bothered by Jalen Ramsey's proclamation that the Jaguars would win the AFC title game and head to Minnesota for the Super Bowl. 

"I ain't got too much to say, but y'all make sure you bring that same energy out here next week and the week after," Ramsey said in Jacksonville following his team's win in Pittsburgh. "We're going to the Super Bowl and we're going to win that (expletive). We're going to win that (expletive)."

Asked about those comments on Monday, Patriots captain Matthew Slater showed no hint of disapproval. 

"Man, that guy’s really good," Slater said. "And he should be confident, because he’s very, very good. The good Lord made that guy, and he said, ‘Let there be corner.’ And there he is. I’d be confident if I were him, as well."

Ramsey was named a First-Team All-Pro for his work on the outside opposite Second-Team All-Pro corner AJ Bouye. They make up arguably the best cornerback duo in football, and Ramsey has already established himself as one of the best at his position despite being just 23 years old and in his second pro season.

"Hey, man, Jalen Ramsey’s a good player," Patriots captain Duron Harmon said. "He talks a lot of trash. That’s part of his game, and you can’t take that away from him. He’s confident. He should be confident in his team. He has a really good football team. The top two AFC teams are left, and he’s a part of one of them.

"His approach to the game is different than ours, but we can’t knock him for it. We know they’re going to come ready to play, and we’ve just got to match their type of physicality and also just their emotion and their readiness to get ready to play."

Ramsey's best work as a trash-talker came eariler this season after he shut down Bengals wideout AJ Green. What he said about the AFC Championship was certainly a step (or several) below that in terms of its intensity, and judging by their reaction Monday, it seems to be a mere blip on the Patriots' radar.

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