GREEN BAY, Wisconsin – On the eve of the NFL draft, with speculation rampant about the future of Aaron Rodgers as the Green Bay Packers quarterback, San Francisco 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan picked up the phone and called his longtime friend and colleague Matt. to La Fleur.
Was the three-time MVP available in stores?
“The real truth is, I don’t want to wake up the next day on Friday and see Aaron Rodgers, one of the best quarterbacks in the league, trade without due diligence,” Shanahan said during his performance The Rich Iron Show. âSo I just called Matt and asked if there was anything wrong. And Matt told me I’d be wasting my time if we did [general manager John] Lynch call. “
And that was it. The 49ers, who traded three first-round picks to move up to No. 3 overall, chose Trey Lance of North Dakota. Rodgers finally decided to return to Green Bay for a 14th season as quarterback.
On Sunday night, Rodgers will be Green Bay’s quarterback for the showdown against the 49ers.
Asked on Wednesday if he thought or hoped the 49ers would have acted for him, Rodgers laughed and said, “There were points where I thought anything was definitely possible, but not a strong possibility.”
The potential trading adds an extra layer to this game, but maybe not for the men who will lead the teams. After training in Houston in 2008 and 2009, Washington from 2010 to 2013, and Atlanta in 2015 and 2016, LaFleur said the late April conversation about Rodgers didn’t weigh on their relationship.
“Kyle is a good friend of mine,” said LaFleur after Wednesday’s training session. “Absolutely, I have no ill will towards him.”
Instead of a fight between Jordan Love and Rodgers, there will be Rodgers versus Jimmy Garoppolo in a primetime game between NFC heavyweights on Sunday.
The swap would have made sense for the 49ers, who beat the Packers in the NFC Championship Game in 2019 but only finished 6-10 in 2020 due to a long list of injuries from key players like Garoppolo. The deal would have made sense to Rodgers, a Bay Area native who would have been able to launch Shanahan’s offensive.
The deal might even have made sense to the Packers who had used their first-round pick for Love 12 months earlier. But Rodgers won MVP, the Packers returned to the championship game, and General Manager Brian Gutekunst decided to keep the team together for 2021 to do another run at a Super Bowl.
“I understand he’s trying to do whatever he thinks he has to do for his football team,” said LaFleur. âHe has a responsibility to everyone in this organization, and when an opportunity presents itself, I don’t hold it against him. So, yes, it won’t affect our relationship. “