BOCA RATON, Fla. - Green Bay Packers president Mark Murphy has said the organization has a plan for its future and evidently it sees Eliot Wolf and Brian Gutekunst having a big part in it.
The team announced Monday that it has promoted Wolf to director–football operations and Gutekunst to director of player personnel.
"They’ve become leaders and have been leaders in our organization for some time now," Packers general manager Ted Thompson said from the NFL owners meetings. "Maybe it’s a little overdue. We thought this was a good time. We’re leading up to the draft, so everybody understands the contributions they make."
Wolf, who’s celebrating his 34th birthday, is in his 13th season with the Packers. He was promoted to director of player personnel last January after previously serving as the director of pro personnel for three years. He was the team’s assistant director of player personnel in 2010 after working as the team’s assistant director of pro personnel from 2008-10. Wolf joined the Packers as a pro personnel assistant in 2004 and spent four seasons in that position.
Gutekunst, a UW-La Crosse alumnus, is entering his 18th season with the organization. He has spent the past four seasons as the director of college scouting after previously working 11 seasons as a college scout in the Southeast region. He previously served as a scout for the East Coast region from 1999-2000. Before joining the Packers full-time, he was a scouting assistant for the Kansas City Chiefs in 1998, a scouting intern for Green Bay in the summer of 1997 and assisted the New Orleans Saints’ coaching staff in training camp in 1995.
Thompson turned 63 in January and is entering his 12th season as the Packers’ general manager and director of football operations. Murphy said Sunday that he and Thompson have had discussions about how long Thompson, who is signed through 2018, wants to continue.
“That’s kind of personal between Ted and I, but we have a plan,” Murphy said.
That plan clearly involves increasingly bigger roles and recognition for Wolf and Gutekunst. But Thompson cautioned against reading any long-term significance into the moves.
"It has nothing to do with (a succession plan)," Thompson said. "It’s just part of our organization and this part of the organization, the personnel part, fluctuates from time to time as it’s gone forward the 10 or 11 years I’ve been here. There are times when you’re a little bit top heavy in your personnel department and there’s times when it lessens a little bit. And like I’ve said, we’ve been using these two guys in an advanced role for some time and now it’s time we kind of acknowledged it."
Wolf's name was linked to the GM vacancy in Detroit before the Lions hired Bob Quinn in January, but Thompson said the promotions weren't made merely to try to persuade Wolf and Gutekunst to stay.
“No, it’s not done in defense, and I understand what you’re saying,” Thompson said. “What we try to do, and we’ve done this over the years, is try to identify where we are and make sure that we stay current in those titles and those kind of things. Like I said, those responsibilities have been done by those two gentlemen for some time.”
Asked if the new titles involved any changes in job duties for Wolf and Gutekunst, Thompson said, "Well, it probably would be a change in duty from what people might infer with their original titles, but it’s not a change from what they’ve been doing, if that makes sense."
Thompson sidestepped a question about how long he foresees himself in the GM role.
"I don’t know. I’m feeling good now and enjoying it," Thompson said. "You wish these kind of conversations and questions would go away because it makes you feel old. I’m feeling good and we have a good crew. I like where we are."