Packers vice president of football administration/player finance Russ Ball is considered the favorite to become Green Bay’s next general manager, according to Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, who reports there is a “preponderance of opinion” both inside the Packers organization and within the NFL as a whole that Green Bay president Mark Murphy is simply “going through the motions” in seeking a replacement for Ted Thompson.
Following Thompson’s reassignment within the Packers’ hierarchy, the club is hoping to hire its next general manager by next week. They’ve started the search process by interviewing director of football operations Eliot Wolf today, and will also meet with two other internal options: Ball, and director of player personnel Brian Gutekunst. Although Green Bay seems likely to promote from within, the team reportedly also has interest in former Bills general manager Doug Whaley.
Unlike Wolf and Gutekunst, Ball doesn’t offer personnel experience, as he’s spent his career on the financial side of operations. However, Murphy said earlier this week that a personnel background won’t be required for the Packers’ next general manager, an indication that Ball could be a serious candidate. If Ball is promoted, though, Green Bay could risk losing Wolf and Gutekunst to other clubs, defections that would weaken a front office that has already seen executive Alonzo Highsmith take a position with the Browns.
Ball, who originally began his NFL career as a strength and conditioning coach, has completed 10 seasons in his current role with the Packers. Prior to joining Green Bay, Ball spent time with the Chiefs, Vikings, Redskins, and Saints, all the while working in administrative roles.
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