BOCA RATON, Fla. – Mark Murphy won’t go into the specifics, but the Green Bay Packers president acknowledged at Sunday’s NFL owners meetings that he has an idea of how long general manager Ted Thompson plans to preside over the organization’s personnel department.
Thompson, who turned 63 in January, is preparing for his 12th season as the Packers’ general manager and director of football operations. The Packers have advanced to the playoffs eight times, made three NFC championship appearances and captured the franchise’s fourth Super Bowl under Thompson’s watch.
The current partnership between Thompson and head coach Mike McCarthy is one of the NFL’s longest unions. With both signed through 2018, the question often has been raised concerning how long Thompson will continue. It’s a discussion he and Murphy already have broached.
“That’s kind of personal between Ted and I, but we have a plan,” Murphy said Sunday.
Potential successors to Thompson will be a popular topic in the coming years. The Packers have four former scouts — De Pere native John Schneider (Seattle), John Dorsey (Kansas City), Reggie McKenzie (Oakland) and Scot McCloughan (Washington) — already running NFL teams and several executives who likely will in the near future.
Packers director-football operations Eliot Wolf is at the top of that list. The 33-year-old son of former Packers general manager Ron Wolf has risen quickly up the ranks. An NFL source told USA Today Network-Wisconsin shortly after the season that at least one NFL team contacted the Packers about interviewing Wolf for its general manager opening, but Thompson denied the request.
After McCloughan was hired in Washington, Thompson also blocked a request to interview senior personnel executive Alonzo Highsmith for a personnel position. Highsmith, chief negotiator Russ Ball and director of player personnel Brian Gutekunst serve as the top advisors to Thompson.
Thompson has remained vague when asked about his future, often cracking a joke to defuse the situation. Whatever his plans are, Murphy says he’s confident with the Packers’ direction. Given the foundation Thompson has built in Green Bay, the team isn’t wishing him away.
“I think we’re all proud of the success we’ve had on a consistent basis,” Murphy said. “Yes, we’re disappointed we haven’t won more Super Bowls, but it’s hard to win in the NFL. I have great confidence in Ted and Mike and the working relationship that they have.”