GREEN BAY – Matt LaFleur rolled out onto the grass at Clarke Hinkle Field for the Green Bay Packers' final organized team activity open to the public Tuesday in a high-set golf cart, complete with a more rugged set of wheels than your normal country-club vehicle.
General manager Brian Gutekunst sat shotgun for a bit, as LaFleur used a couple of pieces of foam to keep his freshly repaired left Achilles tendon raised.
The first-year head coach knew Sunday’s surgery was going to require the cart for this week, and next week’s mandatory minicamp, but it didn’t make the adjustment any easier.
“(Tuesday) was not what I’d like to be doing,” LaFleur said. “I’d like to be hands on in the drills, but again, I’ve just got adjust to it, make the best of it and make sure that our communication is spot on in terms of the expectations of what we want to get done each and every day.”
Being in the cart required players, like quarterback Aaron Rodgers, to have go to the cart to have any necessary — or lighthearted — conversations.
“(The cart is) easy to find, especially now that he’s got the souped-up one,” Rodgers quipped. “He had a little dumpy one when you guys weren’t out there (Monday). He knew you guys were coming today and he had to bring it. I can’t say if that was his or not or if he used company funds to pay for that, but he’s definitely looking better in that thing.”
As for how long LaFleur will need assistance getting around the practice field, he wasn’t entirely sure. Training camp begins July 25, a little more than seven weeks post-op.
“I know I’m supposed to be off it for the next four weeks or so,” he said. "Hopefully, I’ll be back at least in a walking boot by training camp. And then it just depends. Even in the boot prior to the surgery, you can’t get around the field as well as you’d like to.”
LaFleur did say he hoped his team could take one lesson from his injury.
“I’m just going to try to keep as positive a mindset as I can and use it as a teaching moment for our team;" LaFleur said. "Hopefully, they’ll realize, you know, bad things can happen if you play a little hoops. But like I said, I think it could have happened out here on the field as well.”
Rodgers said he’ll have some 3-point shooting contests at his home, and wide receiver Davante Adams has long made it known he enjoys playing basketball in the offseason — often showing off his dunks via social media.
But one player did get the message. Linebacker Preston Smith said he had seen some teammates on the indoor court inside Lambeau Field.
“That was pre-Matt LaFleur,” Smith said. “Yeah, I don’t think I’m playing basketball anymore this offseason. I might not play next offseason, unless I’m standing still and they just pass me the ball the whole time. It makes you a little bit more cautious on how to take care of yourself. I don’t think those guys stretched properly before they went out here.”
Aaron Rodgers: Bart Starr 'lived a fantastic life'
Rodgers and Brett Favre were among a small group in attendance at a private funeral service Thursday for legendary Packers quarterback Bart Starr.
Rodgers, who grew close to Starr during his career in Green Bay, said he first met the Pro Football Hall of Famer at Fan Fest in 2006.
“He lived a fantastic life,” Rodgers said. “He impacted so many people. He did so much for people that you probably will never know about. I think he taught a lot of us great lessons about what it means to be a Packer.”
Rodgers and Favre received handwritten letters from Starr over the years. Rodgers said he always appreciated the wisdom and advice Starr shared.
“One of the first times we met,” Rodgers said, “he said that playing quarterback in Green Bay, it’s about more than just winning championships because he was trying to say that there’s a way to carry yourself. There’s a way to get involved in the community. There’s an expectation of class, and there’s nobody better who exemplified that than Bart. A true gentleman.”
Winnipeg set to host Packers vs. Raiders
NFL efforts to put the Packers’ third preseason game against Oakland in Canada have been ongoing for months, with Packers President/CEO Mark Murphy on record for weeks that Winnipeg would be the likely destination. The game will be announced formally Wednesday in Winnipeg by the Canadian Football League’s Blue Bombers, who play at IG Field. A news conference is set for 12:30 p.m. CT to announce the game, which reportedly will be played Thursday, Aug. 22.
Six players did not participate in Tuesday’s practice, the final open session of OTAs.
The list consisted of receiver Davante Adams, safety Josh Jones, cornerback Javien Hamilton, linebacker Greg Roberts, defensive lineman Mike Daniels and tight end Marcedes Lewis.
Jones has not participated throughout OTAs and is seeking to be traded.
Organized team activities are voluntary. Next week’s minicamp is mandatory for all players, unless otherwise specified by the team.