Few coaches understand the type of player Aaron Rodgers is better than Green Bay Packers head coach Matt LaFleur. After taking over as head coach in Green Bay in 2019, LaFleur helped Rodgers regain his legendary status. Green Bay had three playoff appearances with them, including back-to-back visits to the NFC Championship game in 2019 and 2020.
Rodgers also earned back-to-back NFL MVP awards while playing in LaFleur’s system, which combined Rodgers’ personal preferences with the head coach’s philosophy.
Then there was 2022. The Packers and Rodgers battled and, for the first time in LaFleur’s tenure, “agreed” to split ways. Although it was not a tidy divorce, both parties appeared to be relieved to have moved on.
Unfortunately for Rodgers and his new team, the New York Jets, his season was cut short when he tore his Achilles on his fourth play from scrimmage. On Wednesday, LaFleur spoke to reporters about the injuries and how he knew it was serious from the start.
When questioned about Rodgers’ injuries during a press conference on Wednesday, LaFleur expressed his concerns. In response, he stated (as reported by Matt Schneidman):
Matt LaFleur on Aaron Rodgers’ injury: pic.twitter.com/NPyzdWr837
— Matt Schneidman (@mattschneidman) September 13, 2023
“It’s tough. Never want to see anybody go through that. Thoughts are with him. I have so much respect for him, how tough he is, how competitive he is.
“I think anytime you have a player of his caliber not playing the game of football, it’s bad for our game.”
When Rodgers remained seated on the field, LaFleur said he realized it was a major injury. He realized that only something truly heinous could bring down a competitor like Rodgers.
LaFleur said when asked if he expected Rodgers will return to the Jets in 2024 or retire:
“I believe somebody of his caliber, I would bet he would have no problem coming back from that.” LaFleur is no stranger to Achilles issues, having torn one during his tenure with the Packers. It would be intriguing to see whether Rodgers can recover from this injury. He will be 40 in December, and a torn Achilles has ruined the careers of many athletes his age.