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Report: 49ers' Rodgers pursuit caused Shanahan-LaFleurs tension

September 23, 2021

As if Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers coming to Levi's Stadium for "Sunday Night Football" didn't already have enough drama. 

Time to sip some more tea. 

On Thursday morning, NFL Media's Mike Silver dropped a long thread on Twitter, unveiling the curtains to much more tension between the two franchises.

It's well known by now that the 49ers checked in on Rodgers' availability the day before the 2021 NFL Draft, as the superstar quarterback made it clear he wanted the Packers to trade him. Coach Kyle Shanahan has said he simply called Packers coach Matt LaFleur to do his due diligence because he didn't want to wake up the next day and see Rodgers traded to a different team without checking in.

LaFleur quickly told Shanahan that Rodgers wasn't available and it would be a waste of time for general manager John Lynch to call. 

Shanahan and LaFleur were on the same coaching staffs in Washington and Atlanta. LaFleur's brother, Mike, spent time with Shanahan in Cleveland and Atlanta and was brought over to San Francisco when Shanahan was hired to be the 49ers' head coach. He then followed Robert Saleh to the New York Jets this offseason to be their offensive coordinator. 

Silver claims that on the morning of the draft, 49ers offensive coordinator Mike McDaniel was FaceTiming Saleh and Mike LaFleur when Shanahan then walked in and joked by saying they better take BYU QB Zach Wilson and not throw the 49ers, who held the No. 3 pick right after the Jets, for a loop. Here's what Silver said happened next. 

The Packers reportedly believed the 49ers contacted Rodgers, which they of course weren't happy about. Rodgers and general manager John Lynch share the same agent, only adding to Green Bay's feelings.

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Silver also noted that while the 49ers' pursuit of Rodgers, which Shanahan only saw as checking in, caused some drama, Matt LaFleur has downplayed any tension between he and Shanahan before Sunday's matchup. The two have a long history and friendship, but hey, this is Aaron Rodgers we're talking about. 

Come Sunday, the two likely will exchange handshakes before or after a game where Rodgers will suit up for the Packers, Jimmy Garoppolo will start for the 49ers and perhaps Trey Lance -- the QB who the 49ers drafted one pick after Wilson went to the Jets -- will take some snaps as well.

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