GREEN BAY – Ultimately, Ted Thompson is the man responsible for making the final call on which players will wear the green and gold as Packers but even someone who’s been as successful as Thompson can’t last forever in the general manager’s chair. As Thompson begins the tenth season as general manager he remains a fixture at Packers practice.
Even rookies know where their bread is buttered and more than one was seen stopping by Thompson during rookie camp to say hello and pay their respects. But twice during the draft weekend Thompson took the time to publicly thank his staff leading to whispers/speculation that his time as general manager could be nearing its end.
“That wasn’t a prelude to me walking out,” Thompson told the media Saturday. “It was genuine because just the number of hours you put in and if I haven’t over thanked them in the past that’s my fault.”
Following the draft Mike McCarthy said the 61-year old Thompson was the same person he’s always been in the draft room. “It was normal. He’s got a new computer that’s pretty slick. I’ll see if I can get one next year. It’s got a huge monitor. I guess that’s what you get when you’re over 60,” McCarthy joked to the delight of the assembled media. “It’s definitely the most high tech piece of equipment in the draft room. He’s steady as always.”
Thompson, a master planner when it comes to his team, doesn’t have the same for himself following the expiration of his current contract. “I don’t really have one. I’ve never really had one. I wouldn’t anticipate doing anything different,” Thompson said.
As Thompson nears the age where many people retire, part of what keeps the job fresh, what keeps him going is finding the next Ted Thompson, someone who can go from undrafted college player to who carving out a 10-year NFL career.
“It’s the chase. It’s hoping, X number of players at the University of Alabama, you have your list, but then every once in a while you find somebody that nobody is keen to. You’re hoping to find that diamond that no one else has found, and that’s hard to do,” Thompson said.
But in a league where employment is often a fluid situation Thompson stopped short of saying it’s a certainty he would remain with the team following his current contract.
“Certainty is a very strong word. I’m feeling good and ready to go,” Thompson said with a wry smile. As is the case with seemingly all of Thompson’s decisions, he’ll keep everyone else guessing until the day he walks away from Lambeau for good.