Many people assume that the Green Bay Packers, as the only publicly owned franchise in the NFL, are essentially run by their star quarterback, Aaron Rodgers.
But the team’s CEO, Mark Murphy, is making it clear that Rodgers is not bigger than the Packers.
According to a report Thursday from Tyler Dunne of Bleacher Report, Murphy called Rodgers after the team decided to hire former Tennessee Titans offensive coordinator Matt LaFleur as its new coach in January.
Rodgers didn’t have any input on the coaching hire, Dunne reported, and Murphy called his quarterback to simply inform him rather than ask for permission.
Murphy then delivered a message to Rodgers to make it clear that he needed to accept coaching, telling him, “Don’t be the problem. Don’t be the problem.”
Few fans would assume one of the most talented quarterbacks in NFL history was the problem for the Packers, but the Bleacher Report article detailed various ways in which Rodgers was insubordinate to former coach Mike McCarthy.
Rodgers routinely questioned McCarthy’s play-calling but in a passive-aggressive manner, Dunne reported. Instead of directly confronting McCarthy about the play-calling, Rodgers was more likely to throw a temper tantrum on the sideline.
According to Dunne, Rodgers’ underlying tension with McCarthy dates back to the 2005 NFL draft, when Alex Smith went first overall to the San Francisco 49ers while Rodgers waited in the green room for hours.
McCarthy was the offensive coordinator of the 49ers at the time, so he was part of the group that chose Smith over Rodgers.
That was always in the back of Rodgers’ mind, the report said, and even when things were going great in Green Bay and the team won a Super Bowl, Rodgers never forgot about being passed over by McCarthy.
“Aaron’s always had a chip on his shoulder with Mike,” former Packers running back Ryan Grant told Bleacher Report. “The guy who ended up becoming your coach passed on you when he had a chance. Aaron was upset that Mike passed on him — that Mike actually verbally said that Alex Smith was a better quarterback.”
Enter LaFleur, who is just four years older than Rodgers and has no prior history with the quarterback. LaFleur is part of the Sean McVay coaching tree but has just two years of coordinator experience in the NFL.
How well Rodgers and LaFleur get along will go a long way in determining if Rodgers ever gets that second ring. In the meantime, fans elsewhere in the NFC North will shed no tears over any issues in Green Bay.
Vikings fans watching the Aaron Rodgers and the Packers struggle with their team problems. pic.twitter.com/JlkaujeakR
— Minnesota Sports (@TUnderwood12345) April 4, 2019
LaFleur already has met with Rodgers in Los Angeles, but he’ll get to meet the rest of the team Monday when the Packers hold their offseason program.
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