By Joe Shread
Green Bay head coach Matt LaFleur says he cannot comprehend a situation where Aaron Rodgers does not play for the Packers in 2021 despite the reigning MVP’s disgruntlement with the team.
Ahead of the first round of the NFL Draft on Thursday, reports emerged that Rodgers had told members of the Packers that he did not want to return to the team for the upcoming season.
However, when asked about the potential for the 37-year-old quarterback to leave Green Bay following the conclusion of the Draft on Saturday, Packers coach LaFleur said: “We want him back here.
“I can’t even take my brain to that spot right now. I just want to do everything in my power to ensure that doesn’t happen.
“I believe he’s the greatest of all time. So, any time you have a guy of that calibre, of course, not only as the player but as the leader in that locker room, you want him leading your team.”
Rodgers’ disillusionment is understood to stem from the Packers’ decision to draft quarterback Jordan Love in the first round of the 2020 Draft.
Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst later admitted that Rodgers was unaware that the team would select Love – who was inactive throughout 2020 – while Rodgers said the situation had affected his future plans.
Reports earlier this week said teams, including the San Francisco 49ers, had reached out regarding a trade for Rodgers, but had been rebuffed by the Packers.
In a column written for the team’s website, chief executive Mark Murphy admitted the situation with Rodgers is one “that we have been working on for several months.”
He added that he, LaFleur and Gutekunst had “flown out on a number of occasions to meet with Aaron.”
“We remain committed to Aaron in 2021 and beyond,” Murphy wrote. “He is not only a tremendously talented player, but has developed into a true leader for us.
“The relationship that Aaron has forged with Matt and the other offensive coaches has propelled us to the brink of the Super Bowl in two straight years.
“We look forward to competing for another Super Bowl championship with Aaron as our leader.”
Gutekunst admitted this week that the selection of Love had unsettled Rodgers, saying: “I certainly look back to last year’s Draft and maybe some of the communication issues we could have done better.
“The Draft’s an interesting thing. It can kind of unfold differently than you think it’s going to unfold and it happens pretty fast.
“But certainly I think looking back on it, sitting where we sit today, there could have been some communication things we did better.”
Following this year’s Draft, the general manager added that he is open to including Rodgers in more personnel decisions, saying: “Quite frankly, I think over the past three years that I’ve been doing this, I’ve always welcomed that input.
“I think he has such an experience in this league that that input would always be something vitally important to me, if he’s willing to give it. That’s not new. That’s not unique.”
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