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McCarthy, Thompson thrilled to land Saturday

Nov. 6, 2013
 
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PALM BEACH, Fla. — It had been so long since Mike McCarthy got the chance to woo a big-name free agent, he almost forgot how. So when the Packers coach along with offensive coordinator Tom Clements and offensive line coach James Campen took center Jeff Saturday to the Republic Chophouse in Green Bay last week, they all had a good laugh. “We all started laughing at our table and said, ‘I haven’t been to a free-agent dinner in, I can’t even remember the last one I’ve been to. It’s been years,’” McCarthy said. “We had to kind of get reacquainted with the process. Obviously, we did pretty well because it worked out. It was good to go out and have a meal with a veteran free agent.” McCarthy was beaming this afternoon when talking in the lobby of The Breakers Hotel, site of the NFL annual meetings which begin tomorrow, about his newest player, the long-time former Indianapolis Colts starter. It was the first time the Packers have made any public comments about Saturday, who signed on Friday. “He’s a very impressive individual,” McCarthy said. “He just brings a wealth of experience. I think he’s a really good fit for our offensive room. He’s very available. I was just real impressed with how long he’s played and the number of games he’s played in.” It’s the first unrestricted free agent Packers general manager Ted Thompson has signed since 2009, when he inked center Duke Preston (who failed to make the team) and the first big-name free agent since cornerback Charles Woodson in 2006. McCarthy said the Packers had a plan in place had they failed to land Saturday, who also visited Tennessee and Denver (where he would have been reunited with his longtime quarterback Peyton Manning), but he wouldn’t reveal any details. Saturday’s deal with the Packers was for two years and $7.75 million, including $4 million in 2012, according to ESPN.com. Though he rarely misses games, Saturday will be 37 years old in June, so it’s possible he could be a one-year stop gap. Meanwhile, Thompson underplayed how unusual it was for him to sign a veteran free agent. “We’re all very excited,” Thompson said standing outside The Breakers. “He’s a veteran, a very smart veteran. Our coaches are thrilled. They’ve talked to him, and it sounds like a good addition. It sounds like it will be a good fit.”

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