Packers President and CEO Mark Murphy (right) spent some time with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell prior to the Packers-Seahawks NFC Divisional Playoff game at Lambeau Field this past January.
With team chairman emeritus Bob Harlan helping show him the ropes and his own previous experience on the executive committee of the NFL players' association, new Packers President and CEO Mark Murphy isn't at all overwhelmed by what he's encountering at his first annual meeting of the league owners in Palm Beach, Fla., this week.
But he does recognize the importance of the issues being discussed - particularly the collective bargaining agreement that either the owners or players could opt out of this November - and his experience on the players' side of the aisle when it comes to labor issues could make him a valuable resource to the owners in the upcoming discussions and potential negotiations.
"You really need to make sure you understand the issues ... everybody involved, from the league, the teams, the committees, and learn as much as you can," Murphy said, speaking to a group of reporters late Monday. "And to offer help when you can and try to be thoughtful and really think through issues, not only how it affects your organization but the league as a whole.
"I think from my experience I can provide some insight to maybe help out. Having played in the league and worked for the players' association and being involved in collegiate athletics for so long, that can be helpful as well."
Murphy said the discussions amongst the owners at this week's meetings have centered around presentations and analysis thus far, not decisions or potential actions. He's soaking up as much as he can to add the "ownership" side to his knowledge base, and he was scheduled to attend a session Tuesday involving owners and head coaches that he expected to generate worthwhile discussion as well.
"It's been very informative," Murphy said. "One other thing I've tried to do is reach out to many of the owners and people from other teams, and tried to establish good relationships. Bob has been helpful in terms of (meeting) other people the Packers have worked with in the past."
Murphy said he knows more owners than some might think for a first-time participant in these meetings, mostly due to his past experience with the NFLPA. He expects over time he'll get involved in some of the various committees, like Harlan has in the past, but he'll wait for the timing to be right in that respect.
"There's a lot to learn," Murphy said. "I've been out to the league office a couple of times and visited with different league departments, so I came into it with a pretty good sense of some of the issues. But this has been really helpful, and I'm learning so much."