Packers activate Rodgers for Panthers clash

It is official: Aaron Rodgers is back.

As expected, the Green Bay Packers activated the veteran quarterback off injured reserve on Saturday, making him eligible to play against the Carolina Panthers on Sunday.

In a corresponding move, Green Bay released third-string quarterback Joe Callahan, who had been backing up Brett Hundley in Rodgers' absence.

Rodgers has missed seven games after suffering a broken collarbone against the Minnesota Vikings in mid-October. After early speculation Rodgers might miss the rest of the season with the injury, he quickly rehabilitated his shoulder after surgery, working toward a late-season return.

He arrives just in time for the Packers (7-6), who are in a tough battle for the final playoff spot.

Rodgers has had seven practices with the team since returning to the field, and coach Mike McCarthy said he was "pleased" with Rodgers' work Thursday, especially in regaining his timing.

Rodgers admitted he might be a bit rusty starting out Sunday.

"I feel confident I will be able to go out there and play the way I've always played, but I've been off for seven games and been out for a while," Rodgers told reporters Wednesday.

"So it's going to take getting out there, getting that first pass, getting that first hit, and I'll probably settle in."

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