Packers respond to friction talk after failed Will Fuller trade

The Packers are refuting reports of internal friction over the team’s failed Will Fuller pursuit. ESPN’s Dianna Russini reported that the team was in disagreement within “the highest

The Packers are refuting reports of internal friction over the team’s failed Will Fuller pursuit.

ESPN’s Dianna Russini reported that the team was in disagreement within “the highest levels of the organization” over negotiations for the Texans’ receiver — a claim Packers head coach Matt LaFleur denies.

“I have no idea where anything like that would ever come from,” he said. “We’re (LaFleur and general manager Brian Gutekunst) in constant communication, we’re on the same page and there is no truth to that. I promise you that.”

Multiple reports said that the Packers (5-2) had offered the Texans (1-6) a fourth-round pick, but Houston wanted at least a second-rounder and the opportunity passed with Tuesday’s 4 p.m. NFL trade deadline.

“I don’t know if anything ever got that serious,” LaFleur said of the negotiations.

Fuller, 26, has caught 31 of 47 targets for 490 yards and five touchdowns this year as the Texans’ No. 1 option with DeAndre Hopkins dealt to the Cardinals. The 2016 first-rounder from Notre Dame would have added much-needed depth at receiver; a shallow position for the Packers which they did not address during the 2020 NFL Draft. Allen Lazard, who has been on injured reserve since Week 4 after undergoing core muscle surgery, still boasts the team’s second-best receiving stats behind Davante Adams.

“I wouldn’t say we necessarily need to, because I think we’ve shown what we can do,” Adams said on Tuesday of adding a receiver, via ESPN. “When I went down, guys stepped up and did what they had to do. Stepped up big. I wouldn’t say it’s a need. Obviously, I’ve said this before, I don’t think it’s any secret that could help us potentially. I wouldn’t be opposed to it. It could help us. But I definitely got full faith and trust in my guys here to be able to get it done.”

Green Bay Packers head coach Matt LaFleur and Houston Texans wide receiver Will Fuller VGetty Images

“I’m not going to get into those conversations,” quarterback Aaron Rodgers said. “Again, I’m just going to reiterate what I said and continue to say, that I clearly understand my role and my place on this team, and that’s my focus.”

Lazard is designated to return from IR as soon as this week, so it is possible that the Packers felt confident and didn’t feel the need to overextend themselves for another receiver.

“I think he’s really close,” LaFleur said. “I think he’s done everything that we’ve asked him to do, and the trainers have asked him to do, and it’s just a matter of when we feel like it’s safe for him to go out there, and then he’ll be out there. I know he wants to be out there in the worst way, and he wishes he was out there yesterday. But we’re going to take our time and be smart with him and make sure that he’s able to go out there and play to the level that he’s been able to do for the last year and a half.”

While Lazard may return for the Packers’ Week 9 Thursday night showdown against the 49ers (4-4), they will be without running backs Jamaal Williams, A.J. Dillon and possibly Aaron Jones, who is still recovering from a calf injury. Dillon tested positive for COVID-19 and was in close contact with Williams, who has also been placed on the COVID-19/reserve list.

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