Packers GM Talks Extension, Future, Offseason

The Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel’s Bob McGinn sat down with Packers general manager Ted Thompson on a variety of subjects, including Thompson’s new extension, his future with the franchise and the team’s offseason acquisitions. Here are some of the highlights:

On his contract negotiations with team President Mark Murphy:

“Informal. Yes, I had some representation. An attorney friend of mine. It wasn’t very difficult. It was done over the course of the last few weeks. I think Mark did it (alone).”

On whether he’ll follow the path of his mentor, Ron Wolf, who walked away from the game at age 62:

“Not specifically. I think everybody has their own threshold. Ron was very smart. What he’s been able to accomplish since his retirement in terms of traveling…he and his wife are in good health and have been able to do that…I think that’s marvelous. In my particular situation, I think if I can stay in good health and do this job, I think that’s a marvelous situation.”

On what keeps him motivated:

“The ability to stay up high. To continue the chase of scouting and working with good people. All those things are important to me. My family back home in Texas is important to me. I am cognizant that I’ve spent a large part of my life away from them. I’m going to make a concerted effort to try to be more in their lives. If it’s a weekend every six or eight weeks, I’m going to try to do stuff like that.”

On his role within the organization:

“The short answer is to be a leader. That encompasses a lot of different things. It’s making decisions, but it’s also the idea of being a good person and a servant to the people that work alongside me. The people that I work with have their own lives and their own families. It’s important to try to do this right.”

On Russ Ball (negotiating vice president) potentially being his successor:

“Russ Ball is outstanding. He’s one of those people I work so closely with and becomes part of your family. He’s a good man and certainly an asset to the Packers.”

On whether he deliberately matches contract lengths with head coach Mike McCarthy:

“It’s just been generally the stance of the organization to kind of tie the general manager and head coach in lock step. It makes a little bit of sense in terms of, if the contracts would expire or be lengthened out, they’d be (done) all at the same time.”

On team’s ability to consistently stay under the cap:

“Part of that is management and an understanding of what we will and won’t do on a contract. There’s a lot of angst when you get involved in negotiations. There’s a tendency by some teams to kind of maybe stretch a little bit beyond their reach. What we’ve always done, and what I think quite frankly is one of the secrets of this, is that we’ve always done it the same way. Meaning, we’ve looked at free agents and our own players the same way. We haven’t had four people sitting in my chair and three different head coaches. We’ve had the same people sitting in the chairs. I think when that happens, that changes your roster moves dramatically. It bodes well for me staying in place. I think it’s the continuity of having Mike and myself and our entire staff, coaching and personnel, they’re all the same.”

On taking the blame for last season’s back-up quarterback debacle:

“Well, you kind of push the envelope. You’re always trying to get better at that position, just like any other. It wasn’t like we didn’t bring different people in and take a look at them. It just didn’t work out. We feel pretty good about our (current) group.”

On allowing center Evan Dietrich-Smith to depart via free agency:

“It’s just the way it worked out, you know? He got a nice offer (from the Buccaneers) and we chose not to go there. I think (J.C. Tretter) has a chance to be a pretty good player. Working hard. Good kid. Smart.”

On whether the Julius Peppers acquisition will work out:

“I think so. I think that those that have doubted Mr. Peppers most of the time have been wrong. He is, as people have been able to see over the last few days, a gifted athlete despite being a little older than some. I look forward to watching him. He seems anxious to do it, too.”

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