Kyle Shanahan and Matt LaFleur would like you to believe their aren’t any lingering issues between them, but their extremely abbreviated postgame handshake isn’t what you’d expect from two longtime friends on good terms.
Shanahan and LaFleur didn’t even appear to make eye contact when exchanging obligatory pleasantries after Sunday’s thriller. Mike Silver of NFL Network reported earlier in the week that the relationship between the two longtime friends in strained after an incident this offseason, when LaFleur believed that Shanahan was going behind his back to try and get Aaron Rodgers to Green Bay.
LaFleur’s brother, Mike, was also involved, making a comment to Shanahan before the draft that apparently upset the 49ers head coach. You can read about the incident here.
Shanahan goes way back with both brothers. Matt worked with Kyle for nine years at stops in Houston, Washington and Atlanta. Mike worked with Kyle from 2014-2020, and was one of Shanahan’s lead offensive assistants in San Francisco until he took a job with Robert Saleh and the Jets this offseason.
Both coaches were asked about the handshake postgame, and both unsurprisingly downplayed it. LaFluer, however, didn’t deny that things are different between the two when asked about their relationship.
“I’d say you’d have to ask Kyle about that,” LaFluer said when asked if things are different after last summer. “I know Kyle. He’s ultra competitive. That’s a tough moment for anybody to be in. I’m sure he was ticked off that we were able to take the ball down and kick a field goal to win the football game. We’ve got a lot of history together. I’m not going to let anything come between our friendship.”
Shanahan was more curt.
“I think I was pissed about the game,” Shanahan said. “It ended on the last play. I wasn’t trying to hang out too long in the middle of the field.”