Murphy: "It was my decision"

Packers CEO denies board ordered Ted fired

Mike Clemens
January 02, 2018 - 4:29 pm

Sportsradio 105.7 FM The FAN - Milwaukee


Green Bay, WI – Mark Murphy says hiring Ted Thompson’s replacement as a new general manager of the Green Bay Packers will be a decision he’ll take his time on.

“Fire quickly. Hire slowly.”

Murphy, the Packers President/CEO took questions for about 30 minutes Tuesday on why after 13 years Ted Thompson is no longer the GM of the football team.    

“It’s a conversation we had about a year ago." Murphy said he spoke with Thompson who said he felt like he's more of a scout than football executive. "Ted says he was a scout at heart. We met again this week and he said the same thing. That moved us to make that decision."

Murphy said being the GM of a National Football League team takes its toll, and that Thompson, who turns 65 in three weeks, will stay on with the team as an advisor and scout.

"It's a grind. This is a chance to still do what he loves and build championships. It was a decision that we made jointly looking at a number of different options. In my mind, I think it's going to be good for the organization and Ted."

Will the new Packers GM have the same powers that Thompson had for 13 years – to have the final say in all football matters including free agents, draft picks, trades, and hiring or firing the head coach?

“All of the above,” replied Murphy.

The Packers CEO confirmed head coach Mike McCarthy, who is entering the final year of his contract, has signed a 1 - year extension thru 2019 with the team. Murphy said Thompson was in on those talks, and the deal was done mid-season this past fall.

Murphy said he will be using a consultant, Jed Hughes from Korn Ferry, to aid him, but stressed that "I will make the final decision" on the GM hire.

He acknowledged that the Packers have "several very strong internal candidates," such as director of football operations Eliot Wolf and director of player personnel Brian Gutekunst, both who have interviewed with other teams for GM openings. But Murphy stressed this is perhaps the most important decision he’ll make as a Packers president.  

"This is an attractive job. We'll have a lot of strong candidates. I'm confident we'll be able to put the right person in place." 

Murphy denies reports he was approached by the team’s board of directors and instructed to relieve Thompson of his duties over growing concerns regarding this health and focus. “Our board doesn’t operate that way. This was my decision.” The Packers 7 – 9 record for 2017 may have given Murphy an opportunity to move forward in replacing Thompson now, than at the end of his contract a year from now.

“People used to say I had settled for mediocrity, just going to the playoffs every year, and not returning to the Super Bowl. Well now the playoffs look pretty good. And now we’ve got our work cut out for us catching up with the Vikings.”