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Aaron Rodgers scratched from preseason game due to back tightness

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers is a late scratch for Thursday’s preseason game against the Baltimore Ravens, the team announced. The seven-time Pro Bowler will sit out due to tightness in his back, a move that’s considered “precautionary.”

Packers rookie head coach Matt LaFleur originally planned to play his entire first-team offense, with the exception of starting running back Aaron Jones, who’s dealing with hamstring tightness, for most or all of the first quarter on Thursday night. Expect third-year backup DeShone Kizer, a starter in 2017 as a rookie with the winless Cleveland Browns, to start in place of Rodgers.

The MVP of Super Bowl XLV had a down season by his standards in 2018, throwing for 4,442 yards, 25 touchdowns, and two interceptions. Though he posted the lowest interception rate in football, Rodgers also put up the worst touchdown percentage and second-worst completion percentage of his career.

While he struggled in part due to an offensive line that proved porous at times, Rodgers was also hindered by injuries – a tibial plateau fracture and sprained MCL in his left leg – that plagued him from the opening week of the season. He’s been a full participant for Green Bay in training camp, though, and expressed optimism about his overall health and condition dating back to March.

Much of Green Bay’s success this season hinges on the ability of a young, rebuilt defense to quickly live up to its level of talent. But the Packers, even after replacing longtime coach Mike McCarthy with LaFleur, an offensive guru who has the full support of his roster, will still only go as far as Rodgers will take them.