The Green Bay Packers are preparing to play their biggest game of the season on Sunday. Their regular season finale against their oldest rival, the Chicago Bears, carries major implications. If they win, they will return to the NFL Playoffs after missing the postseason in their final season with Aaron Rodgers last year. If they lose, the first year of the Jordan Love Era will end the same way the Rodgers Era ended: with an 8-9 record and a home loss to a division rival that cost them a playoff spot.
Fortunately for the Packers, numerous players that have recently missed games due to injury returned to practice on Wednesday. Dontayvion Wicks and Christian Watson, who missed the win over the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday night joined Jayden Reed, who left the game with an injury, on the practice field. Additionally, tight end Luke Musgrave, who has been on injured reserve with a lacerated kidney, is also making strides and could play on Sunday.
On the defensive side of the ball, inside linebacker De’Vondre Campbell returned to practice after not participating at all last week due to a neck injury. He had previously made noise on social media by saying he would not play through injuries anymore.
Also returning to practice for the Packers was two-time Pro Bowl cornerback Jaire Alexander, who was suspended by the team following their nail-biting win over the Carolina Panthers. Alexander had made himself a captain for the coin-toss and had given what some referred to as “weird” interviews leading up to the game. After his first practice since the suspension, Alexander talked with reporters regarding what he learned from the situation and clarified his intentions for the future.
Jaire Alexander Is “Grateful” to Be with the Green Bay Packers
The Packers’ decision to suspend Alexander for the game against Minnesota was met with mixed reactions from fans. Some fully supported the team’s actions while others bemoaned the fact that the Packers would be without their best cornerback against a team that boasts Justin Jefferson and Jordan Addison at wide receiver.
Fortunately, Corey Ballentine and Carrington Valentine answered the call as the Packers’ starters as the entire defense entirely shut down the Vikings’ offense. Still, many wondered if the relationship between the Packers and Alexander had deteriorated to the point where there could be a parting of ways after the season.
In his media session with reporters on Wednesday, Alexander stated that he learned from the situation and that he genuinely wants to play for the Packers going forward:
A remorseful Jaire Alexander returned to practice off suspension today. Here’s a bit of his five minutes with reporters: pic.twitter.com/44ZFAN4Brb
— Matt Schneidman (@mattschneidman) January 3, 2024
“I think it was definitely something that I can learn from. There are definitely things that I could have improved upon during that week. Particularly with communication. And moving forward, that won’t happen again.
“I think communicating is big. I mean, I can talk to my guys, and talking to anybody else would be a little bit of a challenge, and I got to be better at that.
“It felt good [to be back on the practice field]. It’s always good to be on the field, just with the guys. It’s the best time.
“[My shoulder] is getting better, you know, just taking it day by day.
“My role [on the team] hasn’t really changed. Just continue to be the leader that I have been and making the plays that come to me.
“I’m very grateful to be here. [The suspension] did not affect my relationship with anybody. In fact, I think it may have improved it.”
If there were any doubts, Alexander also said he wants to and will play for the Packers in 2024. He is under contract through 2026.