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Aaron Rodgers’s Return to Injured Reserve May Have Violated League Rules

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The Packers’ Aaron Rodgers on the field in Green Bay before Saturday’s game against the Minnesota Vikings. The Vikings won, 16-0.

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Mike Roemer/Associated Press

The Green Bay Packers put themselves in an awkward position when they returned quarterback Aaron Rodgers to injured reserve after they had been eliminated from playoff contention last week. That move theoretically could have resulted in the team’s being forced to release Rodgers, a two-time winner of the N.F.L.’s Most Valuable Player Award.

Rodgers, who broke his right collarbone in a Week 6 loss to Minnesota, was activated from injured reserve in time to start Green Bay’s game against the Carolina Panthers on Dec. 17. He nearly kept his team in the playoff hunt, but a 31-24 loss eliminated the Packers. Two days later, Coach Mike McCarthy reported that Rodgers was “sore,” and the quarterback was placed on injured reserve for a second time.

According to an ESPN report, several teams complained to the league office, saying the Packers had violated a rule that prevents a player from returning to…

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