Green Bay Packers coach Matt LeFleur said he did not view the team’s controversial pre-game video that included a clip of quarterback Aaron Rodgers being pulled away from a confrontation with Eagles cornerback Jalen Mills, a spokesman for the coach said Tuesday.
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Mills had yelled at Rodgers after a pass that was intercepted was returned to the Eagles 5-yard line by teammate Rasul Douglas in Philadelphia’s 30-23 season-opening win. The play marked the second time the quarterback had been restrained on the same play, prompting Rodgers to vociferously tell Mills: “What are you doing?!” on the sideline.
Rodgers could be seen in the video pushing and shoving Mills, and at one point was seen covering his mouth. During the public address announcing the video to the crowd on Sunday, it was shown that the argument occurred on the first play from scrimmage and again on the third play from scrimmage, making it clear it was not part of a replay review.
Alex Arbuckle, the Packers director of public relations, said LeFleur and the coaches did not watch the video in their pre-game meeting prior to kickoff.
“Matt wasn’t directly involved with it,” Arbuckle said in a telephone interview. “All of the Packers coaches were told that he should not have been involved.”
LeFleur announced on Monday that he did not think he had reason to question the procedure of the game officials in the video.
“I don’t think there was an overriding situation,” he said. “I just think the process had to be handled correctly. They were down the field, but you have to know the exact point of the penalty. We’re going to get it right.”
Asked what he thought should have happened after Rodgers and Mills were separated, LeFleur said: “They shouldn’t have.”
Arbuckle said LeFleur came to Philadelphia as scheduled to watch Sunday’s game. LeFleur said he didn’t personally see the video in the locker room. He was not aware of any players publicly criticizing the release of the video.
“My real concern was what was perceived by our fan base and fan support groups of our team and team performance,” LeFleur said. “I just want to be able to hear what they have to say and be able to make sure we’re doing the right thing.
“I’m confident that with the video, the Eagles don’t really benefit at all. We took the high road. There are a lot of smart people involved. Those three players will probably all stay together forever. That’s all the coaching staff ever asks for.”
Rodgers commented on the video in the immediate aftermath of the game, saying: “I guess what I was attempting to say was ‘Hey, if you’re going to bring guys off the field here, you need to have a plan to keep them off the field.’ That’s part of the process.”