3. Not playing hostage to Brett Favre
Brett Favre, the legend. Raymond T. Rivard photograph
Not playing hostage toBrett Favre
When a great player retires, it is sometimes hard for a franchise to replace him with an adequate starter and the team can sometimes find itself in rebuilding mode.
When a player contemplates retirement year in and year out, it can certainly hurt the free agency and draft approach by a general manager.
For years, the Packers ironman would wait until the very last minute to let the team know if he was coming back or not. Fast forward to the offseason of 2008, and Thompson clearly had enough.
On March 6, Favre decided to retire for good. The organization held his very own press conference and was ready for Aaron Rodgers to take the reins as the team’s starting quarterback.
Of course, Favre would soon get the “itch” to continue playing, and it would leave Thompson back into a corner with one of the hardest decisions he would have to make.
Move on? Or welcome Favre back?
Thompson decided to move on. This led to many Packers fans being outraged and even calling for Thompson to be fired. Head Coach Mike McCarthy completely supported his general manager’s decision and said “the football team has moved forward, the train has left the station.”
After many meetings and Thompson even offering Favre $25 million to remain retired, Favre demanded a trade. He was dealt to the New York Jets which was a safe move for Thompson. He would never face Favre during the regular season and all was safe in Packers News.
That was until Favre retired for a second time only to come back and play for the Packers’ rival Minnesota Vikings. Now, most won’t forget what happened when the Packers faced their former franchise player for the first time.
Favre was excellent. He completely shredded the Packers. And this again resulted in many Packers fans asking for the firing of Thompson.
But one thing that certainly helped Thompson through all of this, was the incredible coaching by McCarthy and the development of Aaron Rodgers.
If Rodgers didn’t pan out to be the great player he currently is, I think the story on Thompson goes another way. I honestly don’t think we are even talking about Thompson being our general manager.
Thompson believed in McCarthy and Rodgers and they certainly repaid his trust.
Say what you will, but the release of Brett Favre allowed Rodgers to blossom into the best player in the NFL. It was time for the organization to move on. Thompson was right.
Next: Mike McCarthy