Coach Matt LaFleur 'can't even take my brain to that spot' of Aaron Rodgers not in Green Bay

Cassandra Negley
·Writer
·4-min read

Add head coach Matt LaFleur to the chorus of voices struggling to imagine quarterback Aaron Rodgers in anything but a Green Bay Packers uniform. 

LaFleur was clear in his desire for Rodgers, the reigning NFL MVP, to return to the Packers squad in 2021. He joins team president Mark Murphy and general manager Brian Gutekunst, who both voiced support for having Rodgers after reports surfaced that the star was unhappy with the team.

LaFleur 'can't fathom' Rodgers not in Green Bay

LaFleur said he wants to do everything in his power to make Rodgers, 37, want to return. It's Rodgers who is reportedly unwilling to come back. 

"Yeah, I know, and I can't even take my brain to that spot right now," LaFleur said Saturday after the final round of the 2021 NFL draft, via ESPN. "So I just want to do everything in my power to ensure that doesn't happen."

"I can't fathom [him] not being in Green Bay," he added. "That's where my mind's at. I don't only love the player, but I love the person. I love working with him on a daily basis; I think we all do — from the players in that locker room to the coaching staff. Again, I don't even want to let my mind go there."

LaFleur, in his third season as Packers head coach, continued:

"I'll always remain hopeful and optimistic, and certainly, we'll always welcome him back with open arms," LaFleur said, via ESPN. "He knows exactly how not only myself but our staff and our players feel about him. Like I said before, I just can't imagine him not being in a Green Bay Packer uniform."

Rodgers reportedly doesn't want to play under GM

Green Bay Packers head coach Matt LaFleur talks to Aaron Rodgers during the second half of an NFL football game against the Chicago Bears Sunday, Jan. 3, 2021, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
Green Bay Packers head coach Matt LaFleur talks to Aaron Rodgers during the second half of an NFL football game against the Chicago Bears Sunday, Jan. 3, 2021, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

The quarterback doesn't want to come back with Gutekunst in the mix, Yahoo Sports' Charles Robinson reported on Saturday. A source in Rodgers' camp told Robinson a reconciliation might not be possible if Guntekunst remains with the team and that Murphy is aware of that. 

Guntekunst responded to that report on Saturday after the draft, via ESPN. 

"You know, Aaron hasn't said anything like that to me and certainly hasn't said anything publicly," he said. "So, I think it's a little unfair to put that on him. But listen, you certainly don't like to hear those things; but at the same time, it's kind of part of the gig in the National Football League. But no, nothing's been communicated directly to me."

For his part, Rodgers declined to speak with NBC while attending the Kentucky Derby on Saturday. His only comments were telling NBC's Mike Tirico he was "disappointed that news has come out of this rift with the Packers." 

Murphy wrote his monthly column on the Packers' website that it's an issue they've been "working on for several months" and they "remain committed to Aaron in 2021 and beyond." 

Where does Rodgers saga leave Jordan Love? 

The Packers drafted quarterback Jordan Love in the first round of the 2020 draft as a succession plan to their Super Bowl-winning leader. Rodgers said he wasn't "elated" with the pick, and proved he could still play at an elite level on the field with an MVP season. 

LaFleur said he spoke with Love and told him not to focus on all the noise. 

"You can't focus on that. You've got to focus on yourself," LaFleur said, via ESPN. "And I know you guys think it's cliché, but he's got to be the best version of him, and he's got to do everything in his power to make sure he knows the expectations, the standards which we've developed at that position. I know he's working hard."

Love is the only quarterback in the Packers' virtual offseason program at the moment. It's unclear if Rodgers will attend voluntary workouts, which he has done regularly in the past. 

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