Ted Thompson's family on hand for halftime tribute to former Green Bay Packers General Manager
GREEN BAY - With Ted Thompson’s family by his side, Green Bay Packers president/CEO Mark Murphy honored the team's longtime general manager during Monday night’s halftime.
Murphy counted down from five before the Packers unveiled Thompson’s name on the north end zone façade inside Lambeau Field. Thompson, who died in January, was the team’s general manager for 13 seasons and, as Murphy pointed out to a packed stadium, led the Packers to sterling success in his tenure.
Thompson’s teams went to a franchise-record eight straight playoffs, one shy of the NFL record of nine set by the Indianapolis Colts and New England Patriots a decade ago. The highlight of his time as general manager came in 2010, when the Packers beat the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XLV.
"I know it's an emotional night for you to come to Green Bay to celebrate the life of someone who will always be a part of Packers history,” Murphy told Thompson’s family from a podium on the field. “Ted meant so much this organization."
Along with Thompson’s name being showcased on the stadium’s northeast façade, Packers players wore special decals on their helmets and other members of the organization wore pins and buttons with his initial on them to honor his legacy.
Thompson’s imprint remains on the team remains.
“I’ve said this,” quarterback Aaron Rodgers said during the week, “I always have a lot of love and appreciation for Ted because I was his first draft pick. That was always a special bond between us. You know, there’s something special about that feeling where you just kind of know that the GM has got you and wants you to be here and wants you to be successful. I always appreciated that.”
Runyan gets the start
There was a double dose of good news for the Packers as they entered Monday night's matchup with the Detroit Lions: They had their full secondary and offensive line available.
Left guard Lucas Patrick and safety Darnell Savage were active against the Lions. Both left last week's opener against the New Orleans Saints with injuries, but returned to practice by Saturday and were available.
Patrick, however, began the game on the bench, replaced in the starting lineup by Jon Runyan.
Patrick exited the opener with a concussion on the game's final play. He was limited in Saturday's practice and listed as questionable on the injury report.
Savage injured his shoulder on an interception that was nullified because of a Za'Darius Smith roughing-the-passer penalty. He was limited in practice all week and listed as questionable on Saturday's injury report.
The Packers' six inactive players against the Lions were tight end Josiah Deguara (concussion), outside linebacker La'Darius Hamilton, center Jake Hanson, defensive lineman Jack Heflin, cornerback Shemar Jean-Charles and safety Vernon Scott (hamstring). Deguara was listed as doubtful, while Scott was already ruled out.
Before Monday's game, the Packers elevated receiver Equanimeous St. Brown from the practice squad to the active roster. He was active against brother Amon-Ra St. Brown, a Lions rookie receiver.
Key losses for Lions
The Lions were without receiver Tyrell Williams and defensive tackle Kevin Strong in Monday night’s game against the Packers.
Both players suffered concussions in Sunday’s loss to the San Francisco 49ers.
Williams is considered the Lions’ No. 1 receiver and best deep threat in the passing game. Trinity Benson, Quintez Cephus and Amon-Ra St. Brown were likely to be the best alternate options for deep passes against the Packers.
"Trinity’s got a little bit of juice to him," Lions coach Dan Campbell said. "He can run pretty good, he’s got some twitch, I like his route tree, he’s pretty good with multiple routes.
"And then Cephus plays a little bit stronger. Now there are little fundamental things that he’s got to get better at, but I know this, he can play a little bit of bully ball and he can go after the — he can go after it with it being up in the air, which is — he kind of brings that different element to us, which we like. So I think they’re two totally different types of receivers, but I think you need both type of receivers.”
Rookie defensive tackle Levi Onwuzurike, a 2021 second-round pick who was inactive against the 49ers with hip and back injuries, has practiced all week and could help fill the void created by Strong’s absence.
“Obviously we do feel he is trending in the right direction (for playing),” defensive line coach Todd Wash said. “He’s put a lot of work in with our strength staff and our medical staff to get himself into this position.
“But the biggest thing that we’re looking for is for him to play hard. That’s one thing we talk about with our rookie. That’s really the only thing that they can totally control is their effort. So we want to see tremendous effort out of him and just the physical play that we think he’s going to bring. I look forward to really seeing him against good competition and I think he’ll play well.”
Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and Carlos Monarrez of the Detroit Free Press contributed.