Green Bay Packers head coach Mike McCarthy told reporters a few weeks ago that he was at halftime of his career and general manager Ted Thompson followed that up yesterday by telling the world that he was “just getting started.”
The Packers head personnel man seemed refreshed yesterday during a press conference following the team’s rookie minicamp. And the comment comes in light of recent reports that after 10 seasons in Green Bay Thompson might be looking for greener pastures.
The job of a National Football League general manager could be considered a young man’s job, but Thompson, at 61, isn’t a spry chicken. But he’s also a driven man whose existence on the planet is focused solely on building a football team.
He has no wife, no immediate family.
Jason Wilde of ESPNwisconsin.com published a report this morning that includes interviews with Kansas City Chiefs GM John Dorsey and his counterpart in Seattle, John Schneider. Both learned their skills under the wings of Thompson in Green Bay and both communicate regularly with the Packers GM. Neither felt that Thompson’s skills are waning and both agreed that he’s still at the top of his game.
Here is a quote by Dorsey as reported today by Wilde:
“The guy is still on his game. My god, he’s one of the top 5 general managers in the National Football League. And that’s the only thing the Packer Nation should be concerned about: Is the ship headed in the right direction? And I say yes. If the rudder was off a little bit, I’d tell you it was off.
Actually, I wouldn’t tell you. I’d go to Ted and say, ‘Your rudder’s not straight, dude.’ I haven’t done that, because I haven’t had to. If he had intellectually slipped, I would say, “Dude, you’re slipping.’ I can tell him that because he and I talk like that. That’s what our relationship is.
“You guys are making a mountain out of a molehill.”
And here’s what Schneider told Wilde:
“I thought they had an excellent draft, and you can’t have an excellent draft without top-level preparation. Just from a pure
preparation standpoint, Ted’s always been on top of it, and he’s set a standard for guys like myself.
“He’s never told me how long he wants to keep doing it or not doing it. But as long as he is doing it, he’s going to be one of the gold standards that all of us guys are going to try to emulate.”
That’s good news for Packers fans.
That’s because Thompson appeared before reporters the week before the Draft looking tired, ill and haggard. Reporters who were at the press conference agreed that Thompson did not seem himself.
The speculation culminated after that pre-draft press conference when reports about Thompson’s absence from pre-draft events caught the eye of several. Those included him missing the UW-Madison pro day workouts and the fact that he missed pre-draft workouts that he normally frequents.
In addition, Thompson didn’t make it to the NFL Meetings in Florida because of a “personal matter.”
But that all seemed to change yesterday when Thompson appeared to be in good health at the podium when he was present to talk about the rookies and the rebuilding of his team. Clearly, the run-up to the Draft requires long hours – a grueling schedule, even for a young man. One can see how anyone could get sick during a time like that.
However, with time to rest after the Draft and the opportunity to welcome new players to Titletown has seemed to reinvigorate Thompson.
So, with OTAs coming up and the start of training camp on the horizeon, Thompson said he doesn’t have any plans of going anywhere.
The McCarthy-Thompson regime seems as strong as ever.