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Aaron Rodgers isn't playing football again in the 2023 NFL season. However, the Jets quarterback still ended up being placed on the active roster on December 20 after his 21-day practice window to return from injury expired. 

With Rodgers being activated, fullback Nick Bawden ended up losing his spot on the active roster, before later returning to the organization on the practice squad, because the Jets wanted Rodgers to be able to continue practicing with the team even though he won't play again until 2024. If Gang Green hadn't activated him, he would not have been allowed to practice the rest of the season. Rodgers went out of his way to clarify the move didn't come from an idea of his on "The Pat McAfee Show" on Tuesday, clapping back at "conspiracy theorists" labeling him as selfish for taking up a roster spot even though he won't be playing again this year. 

"I assumed I was going to go on IR," Rodgers said Tuesday. "I asked to be put on IR, but then there was a conversation, 'Do you want to practice?' I said not at the expense of somebody getting cut. I know how this works. I didn't feel like I needed to practice to continue my rehab. I could do on-the-field stuff on the side, but, obviously, I got overruled there. It is what it is. This was an interesting situation."

While not naming specific people, Rodgers, 40, suggested that some have conjured up "conspiracies" and "the same, tired narrative" that he is selfish because they disagree with his opinion about vaccines. 

Following the roster churn, Rodgers said he reached out to Bawden after his release. 

"I called Nick right away," Rodgers said. "I just said, 'Hey, I hope you know this isn't coming from me. I asked to be put on IR.' He actually said, 'Hey, look, I'm vested. I'm getting my money. I'm fine.'"

Bawden will be able to collect all of his $1.1 million salary this season because he is a vested veteran who was on the team's opening day 53-man roster. He returned to the practice squad and then was on the Jets' game day active roster for Sunday's game against the Washington Commanders. Bawden returned to the practice squad the next day. 

"Everybody says it's a business and, yeah, he did call me," Bawden said, via ESPN. "It wasn't surprising because that's the kind of guy Aaron is. I see him every day and he's full of love and full of being a great leader. So, it didn't surprise me, and we think we had a really good conversation, just being able to hear what he had to say."  

However, another player truly did lose his NFL spot because of Rodgers' activation: practice squad cornerback Kalon Barnes. He ended up being released from the 16-player practice squad to open up a spot for Bawden. 

"[Rodgers] expressed concern about taking up someone's roster spot and all that stuff, and what it meant," Saleh said Tuesday. "But like I told you guys, we had roster flexibility, just like we told him, and we had the ability to do it. And so, we did."  

Rodgers' backup, 2021 second overall pick Zach Wilson, will be out against the Cleveland Browns in Week 17 on "Thursday Night Football" leaving Trevor Siemian as the starter in their penultimate game of the season. Siemian threw for 217 passing yards, a touchdown and an interception in the Jets' 30-28 victory over the Washington Commanders in Week 16.