GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - Green Bay Packers President and CEO Mark Murphy praised the record of General Manager Ted Thompson while announcing Thompson would be moving to an advisory role with the team.
During a news conference on Tuesday, Murphy talked about his great respect for Thompson and confirmed the transition was a joint decision between Murphy and Thompson.
"I have tremendous respect for Ted. It was an honor to work beside him and with him," Murphy said.
He also denied reports that the team's board of directors had ordered him to make a move with Thompson. He said the move had nothing to do with a health issue for Thompson but was just a product of conversations throughout and following the season, and Murphy felt this was the best move for the organization.
Amid the praise, Murphy also acknowledged that Thompson was a "lightning rod" for fans. The CEO stressed that the main goal for the organization is to win Super Bowls.
"I've heard people say, 'You know Mark, you've accepted mediocrity, you're just happy to be in the playoffs.' Well, playoffs look pretty good right now where we're sitting. So we've got to catch up to the Vikings. We've got a lot of work to do, but I'm very confident. This is a very unique organization, very special, and I think we are positioned to hire a great GM, and get back to where our fans want us to be, and that's in contention for a Super Bowl on a regular basis."
Part of Thompson's new role will be to support the new GM, Murphy says.
Thompson, who will remain general manager until a new one is hired, released this statement prior to the news conference, which he did not attend:
“It’s been a great honor to serve as the Green Bay Packers’ general manager for the past 13 years. This is a special place and we’ve had some success along the way, but it’s the relationships that I value most. I’ve been fortunate to have worked with many dedicated people throughout the organization and I can’t thank Mark Murphy, Mike McCarthy, the football-operations staff and our scouts enough for their friendship and support,” said Thompson. “Additionally, I want to thank every player that has stepped on the field for us. This is the players’ game and I appreciate all the sacrifices they have made for the Packers. I look forward to supporting this team in my new role as we strive to win another championship.”
Murphy also talked about the search for a new general manager, which is underway. The team is looking at both in-house and out-of-house candidates.
The team has hired a consultant named Jed Hughes to help with the search, but Murphy says the final decision rests with him.
Hughes works for a firm called Korn Ferry. His bio reads, "Mr. Hughes has distinguished himself as an expert in identifying, assessing, and developing leaders."
"This is an attractive job I think, and we are going to have a lot of strong candidates across the league," Murphy says. "I'm confident that we will be able to put the right person in place to help us win championships. With our organization, the success we've had in the past, I think very realistically we can win Super Bowls in the near future."
Thompson took over as general manager in 2005. Under his leadership, the Packers made nine playoff appearances and won a Super Bowl in 2010.
Thompson's first Draft pick in 2005 was quarterback Aaron Rodgers. The rest is history.
The Packers finished the 2017 season 7-9. It's the team's first losing season since 2008.
Thompson's replacement may already be at 1265 Lombardi. All these executives are considered strong candidates:
- Vice President of Football Operations Russ Ball
- Director of Football Operations Eliot Wolf
- Director of Player Personnel Brian Gutekunst
Wolf and Gutenkunst have both interviewed for general manager jobs in the last few years.
"I've heard people say 'you know Mark, you've accepted mediocrity, you're just happy to be in the playoffs.' Well, playoffs look pretty good right now where we're sitting," Murphy says. "So we've got to catch up to the Vikings. We've got a lot of work to do but I'm very confident. This is a very unique organization, very special. And I think we are positioned to hire a great GM, and get back to where our fans want us to be, and that's in contention for a Super Bowl on a regular basis."
Murphy also confirmed that the team had signed head coach Mike McCarthy to a contract extension through 2019.
"Mike is our man. He is our coach," Murphy said.
Murphy says the new GM will have the ability for hire and fire coaches.
The Packers did fire defensive coordinator Dom Capers and parted ways with some of his assistants.