Aaron Rodgers gave an extra Christmas thank-you to each and every member of his Green Bay Packers protection crew over the holidays, including an offensive lineman who has spent less than a week with the team.
Rodgers got 65-inch Samsung TVs, among other gifts, for his entire Packers offensive line and included one for new tackle John Leglue, who was signed from the New Orleans Saints’ practice squad on Saturday, according to The Athletic’s Matt Schneidman. He added Leglue needed a laundry hamper to roll his gifts out after the exchange at the team’s facility on Christmas Eve.
It is the first stint on an NFL active roster for the rookie out of Tulane, though he was inactive for Monday night’s win at the Minnesota Vikings and could be a long way from making his NFL debut with the Packers currently stacked at the tackle position.
The Packers tout two of the league’s best offensive tackles in Bryan Bulaga and 2019 Pro Bowl selection David Bakhtiari. The Packers also have a few other backups — multi-positional Alex Light and veteran Jason Veldheer — slotting ahead of him on the depth chart with starting guard Billy Turner also capable of sliding over to tackle should injuries ever become a problem.
At least the rookie will have some pretty good specs now for studying film at home as he works to earn his first playing opportunity in the pros.
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Matt LaFleur Gave Entire Team a Christmas Present, Too
After the Packers stormed to a decisive win over the Vikings last Monday night, head coach Matt LaFleur gave a rousing postgame speech that he capped by telling the players they would have Christmas off — which naturally set the locker room into blissful chaos.
The Packers (12-3) won back the NFC North for the first time since 2016 after beating their fifth straight conference opponent of the season and one more victory could guarantee them a first-round bye in the playoffs. While LaFleur recognizes more work is necessary to ensure a postseason run is possible, he was also pretty willing in the postgame to admit how proud he is of his team.
“We’ve got a resilient group,” LaFleur told reporters Monday night. “A group that doesn’t blink, doesn’t flinch in tough times and sticks together. And that’s what we talk about all the time, and it’s a credit to that locker room. I couldn’t be happier to be their coach.”
As displayed throughout the season, LaFleur has established a respectful give-and-take with his players where he affords them some leniency in exchange for a continually high level of effort. Some lapses in execution and a few rough losses have also seen him stay realistic about shortcomings with a business-first demeanor he carries most of the time.
“I think it says a lot about our characters,” he said. “I think it says we’re a resilient group. We’ve won a lot of tight games this year and we’ve won so many different ways throughout the course of the season. And that’s what this game is about — it’s about winning. It hasn’t always been pretty for us, but that’s okay. We find a way and I think that builds belief and confidence that, no matter what happens out there, we’ll find a way to get the job done.”