GREEN BAY - In a perfect world, Matt LaFleur would have been able to hire his younger brother to his first coaching staff with the Green Bay Packers.
Mike LaFleur, who is eight years younger, is an assistant coach with the San Francisco 49ers. Matt LaFleur wanted to interview his brother for the Packers' offensive coordinator job, but 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan blocked it.
Shanahan said it was an easy decision.
“I was never tempted,” Shanahan said. “It was very easy, and I looked forward to saying ‘no’ very quickly. As quick as I can.”
Shanahan did soften the blow. He promoted Mike LaFleur from receivers coach to passing game coordinator. Shanahan is the play caller, so the 49ers don’t have a true offensive coordinator, but Mike LaFleur is still able to work closely with his boss in devising game plans.
Asked why it was easy to tell Matt LaFleur he couldn’t hire his brother, Shanahan said the decision was strictly business.
“Because he’s my coordinator,” he said. “I mean, and I get the family stuff and everything, and I’m sure if things got pretty rough for a while, eventually I would’ve softened up and given in – maybe. But Mike’s my coordinator, and he does a hell of a job. He’s a really talented guy, and we put a lot of work in together. I feel very fortunate to have him this year, and I plan on staying that way until he gets a head coach job.”
The LaFleurs worked together when Shanahan was offensive coordinator of the Atlanta Falcons. They experienced some memorable moments, none more than when the Falcons beat the Packers in the 2016 NFC championship game. Two weeks later, they coached the Falcons during a collapse from a 28-3 lead against the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl.
This offseason, Mike LaFleur did not rule out the possibility of joining his brother’s staff in the future. However, he would need to allow his contract with the 49ers to expire.
“Whether we coach (together) again or not in this league, who knows?” Mike LaFleur said in January. "I feel like we FaceTime so much, I’m with him all the time. For me, I just want him to have success.”