The 2022 NFL offseason immediately got off to a wild start earlier this year thanks to rampant speculation about the future of Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
There were rumors that Rodgers was set to retire, as well as rumors that he might force a trade.
Ultimately, Rodgers decided to run it back in Green Bay, which was welcome news to fans and the Packers coaching staff.
Rodgers, after all, is playing some of the best football of his career right now. Having the reigning back-to-back MVP back under center will almost certainly guarantee a playoff appearance for the Packers.
Green Bay head coach Matt LaFleur spent much of the early offseason worried about whether or not Rodgers was going to retire.
Apparently, Rodgers messed with LaFleur quite a bit (and had others help him), trying to convince him via some offhand comments that he wasn’t coming back in 2022.
LaFleur, who was dedicated to giving Rodgers his space, was left to worry about Rodgers’ plans, not wanting to “bother” the NFL superstar.
Most of the comments came during David Bakhtiari’s wedding in March.
That was the backdrop to the March wedding. Rodgers “was messing around with me quite a bit,” LaFleur says. “There were some remarks where I’m like, ‘Is he just messing with me? Is he trying to get under my skin to rile me up?’ I tried to play a poker face as best I could, but internally, my heart might have skipped a beat or two.” LaFleur said the jokes came from multiple guests at the wedding. And he was still so spooked when he returned to Green Bay that he talked to offensive coordinator Adam Stenavich about it. “I just kept saying, ‘I don’t know, man,’ and he said, ‘No we’re good.’ Then I’d just keep saying, ‘You sure?’ and he’d say, ‘We’re good.’” It went on like this. But this only hardened LaFleur’s resolve to not say anything. “I didn’t know, I didn’t want to ask [Rodgers], I didn’t want to push it and make it go the other way.” Rodgers signed a new contract a few days later. Five months after that, he’s back making fun of his coach’s hair.
That’s obviously a great (and funny) story. But beyond the humor, it’s an example of what makes the LaFleur/Rodgers relationship work. It’s a marriage that works because they give each other space to be themselves while also respecting each other. It’s truly the perfect quarterback/head coach relationship. And it’s the main reason why I think the Packers are going to be an extremely dangerous team once again this season.
Featured image via Samantha Madar/USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin / USA TODAY NETWORK