The Green Bay Packers Friday named Ted Thompson Executive Vice President, General Manager and Director of Football Operations. Team President Bob Harlan announced the move.
Thompson now has full authority over all aspects of the Packers' football operations. The decision is unique because the Packers opted to change the structure of a team that has enjoyed more regular-season success than all but three NFL franchises since 2001.
Mike Sherman is now Executive Vice President and Head Coach, Harlan said.
"We feel this restructuring helps the Packers in two ways," Harlan said. "First, we are able to add to our staff a respected, 13-year National Football League veteran who is a proven talent evaluator and an efficient administrator. And, second, it will reduce Mike's workload and enable him to devote more time to coaching."
While the team's ultimate goal every season, a Super Bowl championship, has eluded the Packers recently, few teams have been consistently closer. Green Bay and Philadelphia are the only clubs to reach the postseason each of the last four years. And, since 2000 only the Eagles have more regular-season wins. Now, moving forward, the Packers are making a bold attempt to improve on that track record.
"In today's salary cap world of professional football," Harlan added, "where rosters are overhauled every offseason, both the job of a general manager and the job of a head coach are extremely demanding and require an inordinate amount of time and effort.
"I am quite pleased to know the Packers will be moving into the future with these two highly regarded men at the top of our football operation."
Thompson enters his 24th season in the NFL. His experience includes 10 years as a player and 13 combined seasons in the Green Bay and Seattle front offices. His NFL career at a glance:
-Linebacker, Houston Oilers, 1975-84...Signed by Bum Phillips as a non-drafted free agent, Thompson played in 146 of 147 games over his 10-year NFL career...His teammates included Hall of Famers Earl Campbell, Mike Munchak and Elvin Bethea...Houston was 4-3 in the playoffs (1978-80), losing the AFC Championship to the Steelers in both 1978 and '79.
-Green Bay Packers, 1992-99...Assistant director of pro personnel (1992), director of pro personnel (1993-97) and director of player personnel (1997-99).
-Seattle Seahawks, 2000-04...Vice president of football operations.
"I feel Ted is a perfect fit for the Packers," Harlan said. "He knows the people in our personnel department and he is familiar with how we run our football operation. He embraces the Packers championship tradition, and he was very anxious to have the opportunity to return to Green Bay."
The low-profile architect of Seattle's draft board since joining the Seahawks in January, 2000, Thompson finally gets an opportunity to run a team. Few carry a stronger reputation as a scout.
-Players taken by Seattle off Thompson's draft boards accounted for 51.7 percent of the Seahawks' starts in 2004, when the 9-7 club captured the NFC West championship.
-After his five Seattle drafts, 30 of 47 selected players have started at least one Seahawks game, and only three of those 47 did not make Seattle's 53-man roster. And, 31 remain on the roster. Seven of those players have earned all-rookie, All-Pro or Pro Bowl honors.
-Entering the 2003 draft, some called it the most important in team history. Thompson landed four players who not only made immediate front-line contributions as rookies, but who also are cornerstone players for years to come.
Thompson's draft picks include 11 of the 22 players who started the Seahawks' playoff game Saturday. Among his notable contributions via the draft:
-RB Shaun Alexander (first round, 19th overall, 2000)...Thompson's first selection, now a two-time Pro Bowler; supplanted established starter Ricky Watters and over the last two seasons (2003-04) leads the league in rushing yards (3,131), helping Seattle to NFC's fourth-best record in that span...Fell 1 yard shy of 2004 NFL rushing title.
-WR Alex Bannister (fifth round, 140th overall, 2002)...Pro Bowl selection as special teams player in 2003.
-K Josh Brown (seventh round, 222nd overall, 2003)...Nailed 45 of first 55 NFL field-goal attempts (81.8 percent), including an NFC-best 92.0 percent (23 of 25) in 2004.
-G Steve Hutchinson (first round, 17th overall, 2001)...Two-time Pro Bowl selection...Started first 20 games before breaking leg in 2002...Started all 32 contests since his return, garnering first-team All-Pro honors from the Associated Press in 2003.
-WR Darrell Jackson (third round, 80th overall, 2000)...All-rookie selection, has started 61 of 80 Seahawks games in five years...Posted franchise-record 87 receptions in 2004.
-DT Rashad Moore (sixth round, 183rd overall, 2003)...In two years, has arguably outplayed 16 of the 18 tackles taken ahead of him, including first-round picks Johnathan Sullivan and Jimmy Kennedy.
-The Seahawks' starting secondary at the end of the '04 season: Cornerbacks Marcus Trufant (first round, 11th overall, 2003) and Ken Lucas (second round, 40th overall, 2001), and safeties Ken Hamlin (second round, 42nd overall, 2003) and Michael Boulware (second round, 53rd overall, 2004).
A candidate for a handful of general manager positions in the past, including the Miami Dolphins post filled by Rick Spielman in 2004, Thompson also helped the Seahawks recruit one of the best unrestricted free agent classes in recent memory. Seattle last offseason signed cornerback Bobby Taylor and defensive end Grant Wistrom.
What's more, Seattle's 2003 playoff team included five non-drafted free agents signed during Thompson's time there: running back Kerry Carter, long-snapper J.P. Darche, linebacker D.D. Lewis, wide receiver Jerheme Urban and linebacker Tracy White.
Meanwhile, waiver-wire acquisition Chris Terry joined the club midway through 2002 and has started 23 games at offensive tackle in Seattle. Cedric Woodard, a waiver pickup in 2000, emerged as a starter in 2003, helping the Seahawks to consecutive playoff berths.
One of Ron Wolf's first additions in 1992, Thompson during his first tenure in Green Bay was instrumental in providing talent that produced an 83-45 record, six straight playoff berths, two Super Bowl appearances and the 1996 world championship. With Thompson in pro personnel, the Packers acquired free agents Reggie White, Sean Jones, Don Beebe, Santana Dotson and Desmond Howard. With Thompson heading up player personnel, Green Bay drafted Darren Sharper, Vonnie Holliday and Donald Driver, one of the franchise's lowest-drafted Pro Bowlers.
Thompson becomes the 10th football general manager in team history, but only the fourth to serve exclusively from the front office, joining Verne Lewellen (1954-58), Vince Lombardi (1968) and Ron Wolf (1992-2001).
A three-year starter at linebacker for Southern Methodist University, Thompson gained Academic All-Southwest Conference honors and graduated with a bachelor's degree in business administration.
Born Jan. 17, 1953, in Atlanta, Texas, Thompson operated his own investment business in Houston before Wolf brought him to Green Bay in 1992.