GREEN BAY – Green Bay Packers President/CEO Mark Murphy denied remarks attributed to him in a Bleacher Report story, which cited a source close to the team claiming he told quarterback Aaron Rodgers, "Don't be the problem," during a phone call informing him of the hiring of new coach Matt LaFleur.
In an interview Wednesday with Scott Emerich of WXOW-TV in La Crosse during a Packers Tailgate Tour stop, Murphy for the first time addressed the Bleacher Report story by Tyler Dunne that described a dysfunctional relationship between Rodgers and former Packers coach Mike McCarthy.
The story said Murphy told Rodgers he would need to accept coaching from LaFleur. "Don't be the problem," he reportedly told Rodgers. "Don't be the problem."
"It's all in the past, a lot of half-truths and a lot of stuff just made up," Murphy told Emerich. "The conversation that allegedly took place between Aaron and I was completely false.
"We had a great conversation. It was very positive. We talked about Matt LaFleur and I said, 'Aaron, I think the change is going to be great for you and the organization' and he was very positive."
Rodgers also has denied being told that by Murphy, calling Dunne's story a "smear job."
“It’s ridiculous. It is 100 percent, patently false," Rodgers told the "Wilde and Tausch" show on ESPN Wisconsin. "So it’s either he made that crap up, or what he would probably do as a writer is say, this is my source’s problem. He told me something. I talked to Mark last week, and I said, ‘Mark, did you tell somebody about the conversation?’ He goes, ‘That’s ridiculous.’ And I said, ‘Because that’s not what happened.’ And he told me, ‘Yeah, of course that’s not what happened.' We had a great conversation like we always do.’”
The lengthy Bleacher Report story featured numerous sources both on and off the record describing a toxic atmosphere that it said developed between Rodgers and McCarthy even as the team was winning the Super Bowl in the 2010 season and making eight straight playoff appearances. The Packers' run of success came crashing down with losing records the last two seasons, culminating in Murphy's firing of McCarthy after a stunning upset loss to lowly Arizona last December at Lambeau Field.
"You hate to have your dirty laundry aired, but I think this will be a positive," Murphy told Emerich. "If things were as bad as that article implied we never would've won a Super Bowl. We never would've gone to eight straight playoffs. It was certainly exaggerated."
Contact Stu Courtney at (920) 431-8377 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at @stucourt