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Matt LaFleur on Aaron Rodgers: ‘We want him back in the worst way,’ Packers will continue to work on situation

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During his Friday press conference, Packers coach Matt LaFleur was asked the inevitable question regarding Aaron Rodgers‘ current status with the organization. 

Rodgers has reportedly told the Packers that he no longer wants to play for the franchise. According to NFL Network’s Mike Garofolo, Rodgers warned free agents this offseason that he may not be in Green Bay for the 2021 season. Packers president/CEO Mark Murphy has acknowledged that there is an “issue” between the franchise and the three-time league MVP, while Rodgers has publicly remained mum on the topic. Despite those issues, LaFleur reinforced the Packers’ commitment to having Rodgers back in the fold for the 2021 season. 

 “I’ve got nothing new to update,” LaFleur said, via ESPN’s Rob Demovsky. “We still obviously feel the same way. We want him back in the worst way. I know he knows that and we’ll continue to work at it each and every day.”

Rodgers’ uncertain future in Green Bay was the talk of the 2021 draft. And while the scale of Rodgers’ displeasure with the franchise became public over the past week, the rift between the two has been a lengthy development. Rumblings of Rodgers’ displeasure began after the Packers traded up to select Love in the 2020 draft. Those rumblings escalated after LaFleur opted not to go for it on fourth-and-goal with the Packers trailing by eight points in January’s NFC Championship Game. 

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Rodgers’ future will likely have ripple effects on the rest of the Packers’ roster. Davante Adams, who has enjoyed a prolific partnership with Rodgers, recently spoke about Rodgers and his own future in Green Bay. Adams is entering the final year of his contract with the Packers. 

“Obviously, I’d love to continue to play with him,” Adams recently told CBS Sports. “We’ve had a lot of success together and we’ve been able to accomplish a lot as a team. But mainly, I’m focused on controlling what I can control and that’s doing everything I can to be ready for the season.”

The wideout elaborated in an appearance on the Peter King Podcast this week: “It’s been tough, man,” he said. “I’ve obviously (spoken) to (Rodgers) a little bit. Can’t really share too much of what we talked about, but … part of the business is you’ve got to keep people happy. And it’s tough because you have so much time invested in one place and you’ve done so much for one place you just hope to see that respect reciprocated, I guess you could say. And when it doesn’t work out exactly how you want, you have issues like this.

“But we’re just being positive and I’m just sticking to my training, doing what I have to do to put myself in a position to be ready, whoever my quarterback is come (the) season,” Adams told King. “Hoping and praying that it’s still Aaron, just so we can continue what we’ve had going this whole time. But, yeah, just going to continue working to see how it plays out.”

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While the situation is clearly shaky, former Packers fullback John Kuhn, a close friend of Rodgers, said that the reigning league MVP has not ruled out a return to Green Bay

“Absolutely not,” Kuhn said during an appearance on the Zach Gelb Show on CBS Sports Radio. “I still believe there is an opportunity at a resolution here, and it’s going to take two men that are dug in right now and trying to meet in the middle somewhere where they’re both happy.”

Unlike 2008, when Brett Favre’s brief retirement opened the door for Rodgers to take over as starting quarterback, Rodgers is in no way in jeopardy of losing his starting job to Love. While he may one day succeed Rodgers as the Packers’ next long-term quarterback, general manager Brian Gutekunst offered a transparent evaluation of Love during the 2021 draft. 

“He’s got a long way to go,” Gutekunst said of Love, per The Athletic. “Obviously we think the world of Jordan and where he’s going to grow and develop. I think it’s pretty early to be able to tell you that because obviously with no preseason games last year and just kind of the no-spring, but we have a lot of confidence in his talents, in his work ethic and where he’s going to go. But it’s a little early for that.”

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