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Packers QB Jordan Love will make first NFL start: ‘I’m sure he’ll be ready’

Starter Aaron Rodgers is taking ivermectin after testing positive for COVID-19, he said Friday

Jordan Love throws a pass at Packers training camp
Green Bay Packers’ quarterback Jordan Love (10) and quarterback Kurt Benkert (7) during NFL football training camp Saturday, July 31, 2021, in Green Bay, Wis. Matt Ludtke/AP Photo

Jordan Love is preparing to make his first start when the Green Bay Packers take on the Kansas City Chiefs Sunday.

He was selected in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft and has played behind Aaron Rodgers, who will miss Sunday’s game after testing positive for COVID-19.

“There’s going to be some nerves there. There always is walking out of the tunnel,” Love said Friday. “The atmosphere is going to be rocking. But I have a lot of confidence in myself, a lot of confidence in this team, and those dudes are going to take care of me, so once we go out there on the field, it’s going to feel just like a normal game.”

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Love is trying not to put extra pressure on himself, despite taking over for the reigning league MVP, he said.

“It’s really just next man up. I’m a quarterback on this team as well, so I’ve just got to go out there and play my game, obviously not try to be anybody that I’m not,” Love said.

The quarterback wore a mask while talking to reporters Friday – citing two recent COVID-19 infections in the quarterback room, including Rodgers. Love also confirmed that he’s vaccinated against COVID-19.

Wide receiver Davante Adams has seen a new look in Love’s eye as he’s taken on more of a leadership role before Sunday’s game, he said.

“We’re going to make it as easy on him as possible,” Adams said. “Nobody is hanging their head that 12’s not here.”

It looked like Love might play an important role on the team this summer, Rodgers didn’t attend team activities during a rift with the organization. Love played in the preseason, and he appeared in the Packers’ blowout loss to the New Orleans Saints.

“I think he’s come a long way but by no means is he a finished product, and it’s going to be a great opportunity for him to get his feet wet for the first time in a meaningful game,” said head coach Matt LaFleur. “It’ll be a great learning experience for him, and I’m just excited for his opportunity.”

Kansas City is coming off back-to-back Super Bowl appearances, but the Chiefs have struggled this season. Quarterback Patrick Mahomes has thrown interceptions in each of his last seven games. Mahomes said he’s disappointed he won’t face Rodgers this week. But said he expects Love to be prepared.

“I’m sure he’ll be ready,” Mahomes said.

The Packers have been dealing with COVID-19 issues for the last couple of weeks, and the NFL is investigating whether the team or players violated protocols.

Wide receivers Adams and Allen Lazard missed last week’s game. Lazard was removed from the COVID-19/reserve list earlier this week, and Adams rejoined the team on Thursday. He plans to play Sunday, he said. Adams told reporters he experienced headaches and chills during his COVID-19 infection.

“The worst part was just not being able to be here with the squad,” he said.

Green Bay’s defensive coordinator was also sidelined last week after testing positive for the virus. Joe Barry is vaccinated, and he didn’t experience any serious symptoms, he said. But it was tough watching a Packers game from his basement, he said. Barry called the time off “the longest 10 days of my life.”

On Friday, Rodgers told “The Pat McAfee Show” that he’s unvaccinated. He said he’s allergic to an ingredient in MRNA vaccines and was concerned about the potential side effects of the Johnson & Johnson shot. He said he’s taking ivermectin, monoclonal antibodies, zinc and Vitamin C.

The U.S. Food & Drug Administration hasn’t approved ivermectin to treat COVID-19, and according to the agency, available data doesn’t show the drug is effective at treating the illness. Ivermectin can be dangerous in large doses.

Rodgers said he’s “in the crosshairs of the woke mob” and called the NFL’s protocols for unvaccinated players “draconian.”