As expected based on this week’s practice reps, the Green Bay Packers will not play quarterback Aaron Rodgers and outside linebackers Clay Matthews and Julius Peppers for Thursday night’s preseason game against Oakland.
After all three worked only with the scout team at Tuesday’s practice, they are healthy scratches for the game. None of the three played on Friday against Cleveland, either.
Without Rodgers, Brett Hundley will make the start. Hundley missed last week’s game with an injured ankle that kept him sidelined for almost two weeks.
Other starters/key players who will not play are safety Morgan Burnett (back), inside linebacker Jake Ryan (hamstring) and center Corey Linsley (hamstring).
Receiver Jordy Nelson, who was activated from the physically unable to perform list on Wednesday, will not play, either. About 45 minutes before kickoff, however, Nelson came running out of the locker room dressed in full pads - including helmet - and joined the quarterbacks and receivers in pregame warm-ups.
Other players on the will-not-dress list are cornerback Warren Gatewood (shoulder), center Jacob Flores (knee), defensive tackle Demetris Anderson (ankle), offensive tackle Josh James (hamstring), guard Matt Rotheram (bicep) and receiver Jeff Janis (hand).
Hundley, receiver Randall Cobb, cornerback Makinton Dorleant, linebacker Sam Barrington, offensive tackle Kyle Murphy and tight end Mitchell Henry are active after not playing last week. Of that group, only Cobb was a healthy scratch for the Cleveland game.
In other news, according to ESPN.com’s Chris Mortensen, Matthews and Peppers have agreed to be interviewed by league investigators regarding allegations of their use of performance-enhancing drugs stemming from an Al-Jazeera America documentary. On Monday, the league threatened to suspend Matthews, Peppers, former Packers linebacker Mike Neal and Steelers linebacker James Harrison if they did not agree to be interviewed by next Thursday. According to ESPN, Matthews and Peppers will be interviewed on Wednesday at Lambeau Field.
In a letter dated Thursday, NFLPA Associate General Counsel Heather M. McPhee wrote on behalf of Harrison in response to the league’s ultimatum: “Your most recent letter, distributed to the media before providing to Mr. Harrison via the NFLPA, confirmed Mr. Harrison's understanding that, rather than act with the integrity, respect, and thoughtful diligence that an employer such as the NFL should, the League has instead decided to try to bully and publicly ‘shame’ a veteran player-employee who has repeatedly asked a simple, eminently reasonable question about his employer's investigation:
“Is the NFL aware of any credible evidence - other than the recanted remarks by one individual shown by Al-Jazeera - that indicates that there is any validity to the remarks about Mr. Harrison?”
Neal has not agreed to an interview, according to ESPN.
Bill Huber is publisher of PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at email@example.com or leave him a question in Packer Report’s subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at www.twitter.com/PackerReport.