Ted Thompson Press Conference Transcript - Feb. 2

General Manager Ted Thompson addressed the media on Friday afternoon to discuss the announcement of quarterback Brett Favre’s return. Packers.com has posted the full transcript of that press conference.


Hello everyone. Thanks for coming. I appreciate this. As you might imagine, we got a lot of phone calls, and we're trying to get ready to start our draft meetings first thing in the morning, so this helps me a little bit, and I hope it alleviates your concerns. I'll just open it up to questions, I guess everybody knows why we're here.

(What was your conversation with Brett like this morning?)

It was good, kind of short. He called, I was actually in a meeting at the time, and I noticed on my cell phone who it was that was calling, so I excused myself from the meeting and I think he said something about, "I think I'm going to give it another shot." Something like that, and I said, "That sounds good to me." Now, we talked about some other things, but that's how I found out.

(Are you relieved at the timing of this, that it's a much shorter wait than last year?)

I think as we've talked publicly before, I think all of us, Brett included, knew it was better for the organization, it was better for him, it's better for everybody, and his teammates, who he was quite concerned with, to decide this earlier. There were fewer uncertainties going into this offseason. Last year there was a coaching change and other things that I think they had to work through, you'll have to ask him specifically about that. But all along, he's a football guy, he's a coach's son, so he understands a football team.

(Did he tell you exactly why he was coming back?)

He didn't tell me exactly why he wanted to come back, other than in our conversations prior to the end of the season, I knew he was having a good time, and he liked the team and he liked being around the team.

(How long have you known he was going to come back?)

Just this morning, probably about an hour before you guys did.

(Did you think he was always going to come back?)

No, I tried not to anticipate there. I'm not very good at that, so I tried just to take everything at face value.

(Is he going to have surgery on his ankle?)

He might, he might. I don't think anything is scheduled. But like Mike explained earlier in the year, it's something he's played with. I think it's something he might do, but if he does I'm sure you will know about it.

(What was your general reaction?)

It's good. I think like most people that like the game of football, they like the fact that Brett Favre is playing. I think it's certainly good for the Packers and good for this team, and it's good for the NFL. I think as long as he's healthy and happy and playing, I think it's a good thing for all of us.

(Based on the way you ended the season, and with this news, do you think this team can be a legitimate playoff contender next year?)

I certainly hope so. I think everybody goes into a new year with aspirations of being in the playoffs and hopefully being able to play in the last week. But there are 31 other teams that will be thinking the same way. But we feel like we're getting better as a team, and certainly I think it's good to have Brett coming back. With he and Aaron Rodgers, that gives us a pretty strong quarterback duo that we're proud of.

(How's Aaron's recovery progress?)

He's doing good. He's doing very well. In fact, we just checked on him today. Mike talked to him today, because obviously this affects him, and his immediate future and so forth. We just want him to know that he's a Packer and we're very happy to have both those guys.

(Will he be ready for quarterback school in March?)

Don't hold me to it, but he's doing good, so I don't know the time frame.

(Does Brett's return help or hinder his development?)

I think it's both. I think number one, you get to be able to watch Brett play and practice with him and go through all those things. As you saw last year, Aaron takes more and more reps in practice because we try to tailor back some of the things Brett does. The actual playing experience certainly is valuable, but Coach McCarthy will work that through in preseason and things like that. We have to remember Aaron is still, I don't know if this is exactly right, but he's in the single digits of the youngest guys on our team still, even with all the rookies that we had in last year. He's going to be fine.

(Is this just a one-year commitment from Brett at this point?)

I don't know, he just told me exactly what I said. He says, "I think I'll give it another shot."

(Do you see this as an endorsement from Brett for the program the coaches are putting together?)

In his eyes, I don't know, you'll have to ask him if that means anything. But there are like I mentioned earlier less uncertainties this year going forward than there were last year.

(Did you make any promises to Brett in terms of addressing any needs on offense?)

No, and he didn't ask for any either.

(Does it change the way you look at free agency and the draft, to try to add some more weapons for him on offense?)

Not really, no. We feel like if we're doing things to help the team get better, whatever it is, whoever the quarterback is, whether it's Brett or whomever it might be, we're going to try to get better. And if we can do that in free agency, we'll do that. And we'll try to do that. It doesn't always work out. It takes two to tango.

(In terms of building on the progress of last year, how big a difference does Brett's return make?)

I think it's good. Like I said, I think he likes the team and I think the team likes him. That's not to say that ... at some point in the future, Brett Favre is not going to be the quarterback of the Green Bay Packers and we're not going to fold our tents. We're still going to line up and play, but we're certainly happy to have Brett and Aaron on our team, like I said before.

(Offensively, what kind of confidence does that give your team?)

I think it's good. Like I said before, I think it's a positive for everything, and I certainly think it is for our team that we have Brett coming back. You'll have to speak to him in terms of confidence in all the other things, but I think it's a good thing. Certainly I'm happy he's coming back.

(Are you surprised he made the announcement today, right before the Super Bowl?)

I don't know. I've tried to learn not to be surprised. We've been through this merry-go-round a couple of times. But, like I said before, and he was the first to admit it in our conversations toward the end of the year, he knew that a decision needed to be made fast. Like I said, he's a football guy and he cares about this team and the image of the Green Bay Packers, and I'm sure that had something to do with it. But like I said, I think the timing of it, we wanted to give him three weeks or four weeks, or something like that, just to kind of let the dust settle, and I purposely didn't call him or bother him during his time. I think Mike had a conversation or two with him over the course of the last week, but this was his call.

(This was the first time you talked to him since the end of the season, today?)

We traded a few messages. He was hunting and I was scouting.

(What else did you guys talk about?)

Hunting and scouting. It's cold down in Mississippi I guess. It's a little colder than it's been. Stuff like that.

(So just small talk, nothing really substantive?)

Not really, no.

(Did he let you know how he came to this decision?)

No, he didn't.

(When you saw his tearful interview after the Bears game, did you think he would retire at that point?)

No, I didn't necessarily think that. In the locker room, he was happy as a clam, like he was in amongst the team and we won a game against an arch-rival, and he was pretty happy about everything. So I didn't try to read too much into that.

(Do you feel Brett can be a recruiting tool when it comes to free agency?)

Yeah, I certainly do. I think having Brett Favre on your team is a positive when you're going out and talking to other people.

(Did it help he made his decision now rather than after the start of free agency in attracting other players?)

It could. Funny thing about free agency, sometimes it's the almighty dollar sign that has the most influence. I don't know whether it will or whether it doesn't. I think each free agent decides where he wants to go for his own reasons. But I do think Brett Favre is a good teammate to have and I'm sure people around the league would think that.

(So you didn't talk to him at all this week before today?)

No. Traded a few messages.

(How soon did you talk to Coach McCarthy after you got off the phone with Brett, and what was his reaction?)

Fairly soon, 20 minutes or something like that. He was excited, glad to know he was coming back. Like I said, he was going to call Aaron and talk to him.

(How confident are you Favre is going to be able to continue to play at the level we're accustomed to seeing him play? Do you have any concern at all as players get older what happens?)

I think you watch for those kind of things. I haven't seen any evidence of any declining physical ability for him to play the game. I think he's one of those rare birds that you see once in a generation that can play at a very very high level for an extended amount of time. Now, when that time comes for him, not to be able to produce that way, I don't know when it's going to be, but I don't see any evidence of it.

(Are there things you can do to push that farther into the future, the inevitable decline?)

I think with all players, once they've reached a certain maturity level in the NFL, I think you do certain things. Even in the archaic days of when I played, older guys probably didn't take as many reps. As they've done with the Packers when I was here before, when I was gone and when I've been back, they count every throw that he makes, as we do with all the quarterbacks. You keep an eye on that sort of thing.

(What sort of commitment level did you see from Brett last year? Was the commitment there?)

Yes. But I don't know that it's never not been here. He's a football guy. He likes to win and he wants to do good.

(Do you get the sense the end of the season helped make the decision easier, with the four-game winning streak and the team developing around him?)

I don't know. I find it difficult to speak for anybody other than myself, so I'll let Brett field those. But I would think it might have had some influence, but I think the fact that the team was competitive and playing, and like I said, I think he liked the attitude of our team. Some of that is guess, some of that is what he told me.

(Will he be here for all the offseason work?)

All, I don't know. I'm sure some. Mike will probably be letting everybody know about what the plan is. Again, it's part of watching reps and things like that.

Thank you for coming.

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