Packers coach Matt LaFleur being 'respectful' of Aaron Rodgers' decision-making process

Kassidy Hill
Packers News
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INDIANAPOLIS - Green Bay Packers head coach Matt LaFleur kicked off his time at the NFL combine Wednesday, talking with the media and preparing for a week of meetings. And during an offseason that has been dominated by discussion of quarterback Aaron Rodgers and his future, it took 12 questions at the podium before the coach was asked to address his quarterback. 

“You always want to be respectful because I know it’s a lot to take on," LaFleur said when asked whether he has stayed in touch with Rodgers. "I know he has a lot to think about. Certainly I’m making sure that I consistently communicate with him. But also I want to be respectful of his time and the process he has to go through.” 

While LaFleur is being respectful of his back-to-back MVP, and the decision Rodgers is facing, the Coach of the Year finalist admits it’s hard not trying to influence Rodgers. 

Green Bay Packers coach Matt LaFleur speaks during a news conference Wednesday at the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis.

“You can only control what you can control," he said. "So you just try to make the best of it and try to have consistent communication. I told him I don’t want to be overbearing and tell him every day how much we love him and how much we want him back. So you just wanna be respectful of his space and allow him to think through everything clearly without being annoying I guess.” 

NFL free agency begins March 16, and general manager Brian Gutekunst expects to have a decision from Rodgers by that date. 

Combine meetings key to draft process 

Gutekunst mentioned Tuesday how much the Packers' draft process relies on LaFleur and staff being in Indianapolis. On Wednesday, LaFleur expanded, saying he is “very involved” while other teams are electing to leave their coach at home. 

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“Just sitting through the interview process, I think that’s as big a part of it as any, is just trying to find what these guys are all about, what makes them tick. And what type of people they are, how competitive they are, how much do they love football? Because I do think there’s a commonality amongst the guys that you can get the most out of and that really reach their potential, whatever level that is, is that they all love ball and they love to compete.” 

LaFleur will be at the combine through Friday to take part in interviews and meetings. 

LaFleur not part of cap conversations 

The Packers have one of the worst salary-cap situations in the league, around $30 million over the cap. While the front office has reworked contracts in recent days to free up space, there is still work to be done before March 16.

LaFleur, though, is leaving the numbers to Gutekunst and director of football operations Russ Ball, with only one directive. 

“Just bring as many guys back as we can,” LaFleur said. “I think Russ Ball does an outstanding job with that. Obviously I’m a part of the conversations, but that’s really not my expertise in terms of the finer details of how it all fits together. But those are conversations that we have, and I’m learning it, but probably not to the level you guys would want to see.” 

Elgton Jenkins rehabbing in Green Bay 

Offensive lineman Elgton Jenkins tore his ACL in Week 11 versus the Minnesota Vikings. The versatile lineman had been starter for eight weeks at that point, in place of the injured David Bakhtiari. Since suffering the season-ending tear, Jenkins has focused on returning. And according to LaFleur, the Mississippi native is doing so in Green Bay. 

“Elgton’s doing a great job," he said. "He’s attacking it the way you’d expect him to. He’s been in Green Bay the majority of the offseason. I’m excited just about the progress that he’s made and we expect him to be back to full strength at some point during the season.” 

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