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Why the Lions Still Need to Worry about Aaron Rodgers

Aaron Rodgers has had a large amount of success playing against the Detroit Lions.

While Aaron Rodgers may not be a wounded bear, he is a wounded Packer that the Lions still need to worry about. 

Monday night's game could arguably be the most pivotal game of his career. Which Rodgers will show up? 

Will it be the Rodgers who was last year's NFL MVP, or will it be the Rodgers who is currently last in Total QBR on ESPN.com? 

One thing is for certain: It will be one or the other and nothing in between. 

Do the Lions still need to worry about Rodgers?

History would say the answer to that question is yes. 

Rodgers has a career passer rating of 106.2, with 5,662 yards, 46 touchdowns and eight interceptions in 22 career games against Detroit.

Rodgers is also 17-5 against the Lions.

However, when we look into the NFL crystal ball, the answer to that question might be different. 

This past offseason was unprecedented for Rodgers in many respects. Never before had he had this level of well-documented conflict with the Packers' front office. From reports, all of it he initiated. 

From his comments directly after the NFC Championship Game loss, to stories where he discouraged free agents from signing in Green Bay, it's fair to say: "Where there is smoke, there is fire."

Things got even more heated during draft time, which culminated recently in what amounted to Rodgers holding his own infomercial on the Packers' podium. He claimed he feels entitled to be a voice in personnel matters, at a table he has never been invited to. 

Last Sunday against the New Orleans Saints, the aftershock of Rodgers' tumultuous and strained relationship with his team could be seen - - and felt. Admittedly, he had lost 15 pounds and his hair was a little longer, but he still fit into his old and familiar No. 12 jersey. However, things had changed. 

This was further evidenced on the scoreboard, and it played out in the circumstances. Here are the Packers who have gone from being in the NFC Championship Game, to getting blown out in the season opener. And, here is Rodgers, who has gone from being the league's MVP to being benched. 

The effects of the strain between Rodgers and the organization also showed up in the general energy and morale of the team when he was on the field. 

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On film, Rodgers still showed he is able to go through all the motions with the same sharpness as ever. But, his heart did not look like it was in it. 

This point is even further substantiated by Rodgers' own comments on Fox, when he sat down with Erin Andrews prior to the Saints game. 

"I don't feel like I have anything left to prove on the field," Rodgers told Andrews. "I think it's more about the enjoyment and the happiness and the quality of life that this game has afforded me over the years." 

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Say what you want, but this is the first time Rodgers has ever talked like that. And, in a game where 90 percent of the game is won or lost from the neck up, that is a concern. 

Rodgers' own words have taken the guesswork out of this, and reflect the change that has occurred within him. This is not the Rodgers of 2019 or 2020. This is the Rodgers of 2021. 

Now, there is nothing wrong with such a change, as it probably happens to just about everyone when they retire. Rodgers even admitted in that interview he had "100 percent" contemplated retirement, which further reflects and illustrates his current state of mind.

Whether or not the Lions need to still worry about Rodgers on Monday night remains to be seen. 

I am betting we will see him continue to spiral in the direction he has consistently been trending towards over the past eight months. Eventually he will force the Packers to make the decision he seems to be unable to make.

However, in the meantime, maybe even more than the Lions worrying about Rodgers the quarterback, maybe we all need to worry more about Rodgers the person.  

Because given the words that have come out of his own mouth, what sense does it make that he is back under center? 

As previously mentioned, Rodgers has admitted he feels he has nothing left to prove, and he possesses a reported net worth of $120 million. 

So, what then is the real reason Rodgers is back playing for the Packers?

That is what concerns me - - and should concern everybody the most.