>>Rodgers Cleared To Play
Aaron Rodgers has been "medically cleared to return" to action after missing seven games with a broken right collarbone, the Green Bay Packers quarterback announced on Instagram Tuesday night.
Rodgers was hurt during a loss to Minnesota on Oct. 15 and had surgery four days later. He returned to practice on Dec. 2 and is eligible to rejoin the 53-man roster on Friday, which means the two-time MVP could suit up for Green Bay's game at Carolina on Sunday.
"It's been a long road ... but I'm happy to say I've been medically cleared to return," Rodgers wrote on Tuesday night.
The Packers (7-6) likely need to win their final three games to make the playoffs.
Rodgers had his collarbone scanned on Monday morning. That afternoon, with the team in the middle of game-planning for Carolina, coach Mike McCarthy wasn't sure whether Rodgers or backup Brett Hundley would be his quarterback.
The Packers were 4-2 in Rodgers' six starts, including the Minnesota game, where he was hurt on the second possession on a hit by Vikings linebacker Anthony Barr. In the three prior games, he threw 10 touchdown passes with only one interception in in consecutive victories over Cincinnati, Chicago and Dallas.
After playing the Panthers, who at 9-4 are in position for the top NFC wild card, the Packers have a rematch against NFC North-leading Minnesota before finishing the season at Detroit. Green Bay's final three opponents have a combined record of 26-13.
The Packers went 3-4 in Hundley's seven starts, including back-to-back overtime wins over Tampa Bay and Cleveland that kept their playoff hopes alive and made Rodgers' return a tantalizing possibility.
>>Former Bears Special Teams Star, Devin Hester, Announces Retirement
Devin Hester, the all-purpose speedster who holds the NFL record for kick return touchdowns with 20, has announced his retirement from the NFL.
In a post on social media, the 35-year-old Hester said had realized it was time .
"Good news: Commissioner Goodell, you can put the kickoff back at the 30," Hester wrote. "Bad news: Y'all will have to find a new favorite returner."
Hester played for Atlanta, Baltimore and Seattle, but his best years were with the Chicago Bears, which took him in the second round (57th overall) out of Miami in 2006. At the end of his rookie season, he took the opening kickoff of the Super Bowl 92 yards for a touchdown against Indianapolis, though the Colts won the game.
He is the third-leading punt returner in NFL history and was selected to the Pro Bowl in 2006, 2007, 2010 and 2014.