Packers activate Aaron Rodgers

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Aaron Rodgers was officially activated off injured reserve on Saturday, shortly before the team departed for Sunday's game at Carolina in what was the last step in his comeback from his broken right collarbone.

The Packers released quarterback Joe Callahan, who had been backing up Brett Hundley while Rodgers was on IR, to clear a spot.

Still, there are a few things that might need to happen before Rodgers feels comfortable again.

"It's going to take getting out there, getting that first pass, getting that first hit," Rodgers said this week. "And I'll probably settle in."

Packers quarterbacks coach Alex Van Pelt offered to help him with the latter before kickoff on Sunday against the Carolina Panthers.

"I told him as soon as we get done with pregame, I'm going to tackle him -- just get it out of the way," Van Pelt joked.

Van Pelt, an NFL quarterback for nine years, said it's important to know you can take a hit.

"It kind of gives you that reassurance of 'OK, yeah, I'm fine," Van Pelt said. "Now relax and go play."

Rodgers, who missed seven games and underwent surgery to repair his broken right clavicle, has experience coming back from a similar injury. In 2013, he returned for the regular-season finale after missing seven games with a broken left collarbone. He barely scrambled and avoided contact when he felt pressure coming, but after a slow start, with a pair of interceptions, he ended up throwing for 318 yards and two touchdowns -- including the game-winning bomb to Randall Cobb in the final minute.

"You have to play," Rodgers said this week when asked if he would change his style. "I wouldn't be playing if I didn't feel confident playing the way that I played my entire career. So that game helped back in 2013, knowing what I can do and absorb, but it's not worth it unless you can go out there and play confidently."

Rodgers was cleared to return on Tuesday and worked all week as the No. 1 quarterback, but he had been practicing for nearly two weeks, running the scout team as soon as IR rules allowed him to start working out with the team.

"I don't think you're ever going to stop him from playing the way he plays," Van Pelt said. "Obviously we've talked about just maybe being a little smarter and getting rid of it a little earlier -- if he needs to. Easy to say, hard to do as a player. I would expect him to come out and be what he usually is. He's going to do him. And that's great. We're excited for that."

The Packers (7-6) likely need to win out to have any chance of making the playoffs.