It’s just business. No hard feelings, etc. That was effectively the message from Kyle Shanahan on Friday, following a report from NFL Network’s Mike Silver, which suggested that Shanahan’s inquiry over Aaron Rodgers had caused something of a rift between him and Matt LaFleur, who Shanahan is close friends with from their days together in Washington. LaFleur was the best man at Robert Saleh’s wedding.
According to Silver, there was a video call the night of the draft in which LaFleur’s younger brother, Mike — the former passing game coordinator with the 49ers who followed Saleh to the East Coast to be his offensive coordinator with the Jets — poked fun at Shanahan for the Rodgers inquiry. Shanahan then joked that Matt LaFleur hadn’t called him back, to which Mike LaFleur reportedly responded, “Can you blame him?”
Both coaches tried to squash whatever purported beef there was (or wasn’t). Shanahan described the inquiry multiple times as extremely brief.
LaFleur said Wednesday he holds nothing against Shanahan.
“Kyle’s a great friend of mine,” LaFleur said, per Sports Illustrated. “Absolutely, I hold no ill will towards him. I understand. He’s trying to do whatever he thinks he needs to do for his football team. He’s got a responsibility to everybody in that organization, and if there’s an opportunity, I don’t hold that against him. So, yeah, that will have no effect on our relationship.”
Shanahan responded in kind on Friday, saying roughly: it’s just business. Asked if he felt there was any tension between the two, he said, “No, I don’t.”
“I definitely heard about people talking about our friendship, but I’ve got a lot of friends in this league, coaches, players, equipment managers, everybody,” Shanahan said. “I have been in this league for 20 years and you do have lots of friends, but I can promise you that friends never affect how you do your job. We all have jobs to do and you all have relationships, but you always do your job and try not to think about anything else.”
The two will face off, with Rodgers starting for the Packers, for the fourth time in both of their tenures. The 49ers are 2-1 with an NFC Championship win, with the Packers’ sole win coming in a 34-17 win at a fan-less Levi’s Stadium last season with Nick Mullens — who threw one interception and fumbled another, which was recovered by Green Bay — at the helm.