Ted Thompson Press Conference Transcript - July 28

Read the transcript of General Manager Ted Thompson’s press conference on Monday from the Lambeau Field auditorium. - More Mike McCarthy Press Conference Transcript - July 28

Good afternoon. Welcome to our training camp. We had a great practice this morning, looking forward to the first padded practice this afternoon. A couple of things that I wanted to touch on, and then we'll just do our normal take some questions. There have been a lot of reports throughout all of this, and I understand that, but sometimes things get skewed by the time they get out. I did want to comment that Brett and I had a couple of conversations on Saturday. I think both of them lasted approximately 45 minutes or so. It was very professional. It was very cordial. We talked about a lot of things. We acknowledged, both of us, that this is a unique and at times difficult situation. I think he and I are both aware of that, as all of the parties are, and probably you are too. We talked about different options that were available. I stated my case as to why I thought certain options were better. He certainly had his opinion on his options. At the end of the day, we still have not gotten to the point where we agree on what the best option is. We have sort of agreed to disagree, and at that time he suggested he would probably delay coming to training camp for at least a couple of days to see how things worked out. He asked me to present to you guys at some point, and I think now is an appropriate time, his reasoning behind that. His reasoning behind that is he cares very much about this team, cares about these players, his former teammates, so he doesn't want to do anything to disrupt from that. He felt strongly that he wanted to get that out so I wanted to make sure that I told you guys that at the onset. We're still working through where we are. There have been no resolutions, no updates. We are trying to do the right thing and we will continue to try to do the right thing for all parties. There are not any simple answers, but that is what we are tasked to do in terms of working through this. As a leader here, I feel a responsibility to try to do this and try to do this in a proper manner and it's an ongoing thing that we're going to do the best we can. Having said that, it was very good to get out on the practice field on a beautiful Wisconsin morning and see our guys go at it. It's good to get started.

(Does the organization even want Brett back?)

There are a lot of different scenarios and Brett and I talked about that. That's one scenario, where he comes back. We've said all along, we've never changed our message in this regard, that with his retirement and subsequent affirmation of that retirement, we have made a commitment to move forward. He understands that. I'm not saying he's in total agreement, but as a football guy, he understands that, and that's where we are. What does that mean? Does that mean he comes back in a different role or something like that? That would just be determined as we go forward.

(Does him coming back represent not moving forward?)

I'm just saying, him coming back, we have to prepare our team. Come draft time, we decided we had to get this position ready, so we have three young quarterbacks that we have to prepare to play. Now how Brett factors into that group? We would just have to wait and see. We wouldn't know. Time marches on, things happen, but there are scenarios where he would be here and he would be fine.

(Why not have a competition if he comes back?)

Again, I thought it was important for me to be perfectly honest with Brett that we have started down this path and it doesn't make sense for us to turn around and go back now. We have to continue down this path. Where that leads, I don't know, but I didn't want to be dishonest or disingenuous and say OK, we can do this and then change our mind. I think Brett Favre deserves more than that, so we told him the way we felt.

(But why do you have to continue down this path? Why not let him back and say the best quarterback wins?)

We believe that this is the path that we should be on. We believe this is the best thing in the best interest of the organization, both in the short term and the long term.

(If you say he deserves better than that, why not give him what he wants?)

The club has certain rights in this too. We've told Brett that we would work with him and obviously it would have to be an in-tandem thing to work out any sort of trade or whatever. But to just offer a blanket release just relinquishing all of the club's rights to me doesn't make good business sense.

(Would you ever consider trading him to a NFC North team?)


(Is it not accurate that he wanted to come in and you asked him not to do that?)

No, no. That's kind of the thing that gets skewed. Like I said, we had a great conversation. We had a 45-minute conversation and a couple of hours later we had another 45-minute conversation. During those conversations at some point I kind of wanted to say OK, let me answer this from the earlier conversation and this from the earlier conversation, so I laid out some, what I thought, were some valid reasons why delaying reinstatement would make a lot of sense. At the end of this conversation, he said something to the effect of why don't we do something like this, but I would like the team to know that I care about them.

(Did he give you a deadline where if you don't have something in place that he would report?)

No, he didn't. I think he used the term a couple of days.

(Was that an accurate quote that you said you would get fired if he came in?)

That would not be the way that I would interpret that. Again, I can't answer for how someone else interpreted it, and I'm not saying who said what, which is way bigger than that, so that's not what I am saying. I'm just saying that would not be my interpretation of that conversation.

(Is it feasible that a trade could be made by Wednesday?)

I don't know. With any trade, certainly a trade of an iconic figure like this, sometimes there are complications in there. I just think it's a matter of all of the parties coming together and saying this is a good idea. We're not there yet, so I think that would be the complication.

(Are you saying that when you made the comment that you'll get fired, that was made in jest?)

No, again, I'll just leave it at that. I don't want to want to get into he said, she said. I'm just saying that was not my interpretation of our conversation.

(Were you relieved when he decided not to come?)

We talked about this; I just felt like it had the potential to be, it's kind of a crush here anyway, but it had the potential to be a little bit more of a distraction than normal. I'm very proud of our team. I'm very impressed with these guys on this team, and I think we can handle it whenever, if that happens. I just felt like a couple of days really doesn't take any of his options away and it allows some more conversations to go forth.

(From the conversations you have had, do you think you can get anything approaching fair value in a trade?)

I don't know. Business is business, and we have our duty as officers of the Packers to try to do what is right. But at the same time we are trying to marry that with doing what is right and what Brett would like as well. We haven't gotten there yet. I don't know if it's fair to speculate in terms of what we would expect in terms of market value. I know there have been a lot of reports out there but none of them have much substance to them because it hasn't been run by me yet.

(How would you characterize the talks you are having with teams, how many teams?)

I'm sorry, I wouldn't care to comment on that, and we never would. It wouldn't matter if it was for Brett Favre or for some other player on our 80-man roster. We would never comment on potential trades like that.

(But it is fair to say they are active and ongoing?)

There have been some kicking of tires type conversations.

(Has Brett told you teams he would or would not go to?)


(If you were the general manager of another team, wouldn't you I am going to let this play out a little bit longer and see if they let him go?)

I suppose that is one way of looking at it. I'm not sure that I am that smart. I suppose some people might look at it like that.

(Would it be fair to say that the most desirable outcome for the team is a trade?)

No, the most desirable outcome is to get to a point where the Packers can say we have done our job. We have done our job in representing the Packers. We have done our job in trying to help Brett Favre get where he wants to be. If that means a trade, fine. If that means something else, fine. I'm not saying it's easy, but we're trying to do this so that everybody comes out of this and feels OK. This is the way it should be.

(When you spoke to Brett this weekend, did he still say that he wanted to play for the Packers?)

I think I'll let Brett field those questions. Most of our conversations, I know I have relayed some of them, but as you guys that cover this team, I don't talk too much about private conversations that I have, so I would prefer to kind of hang on to that.

(You did make a trade with the Vikings on draft day and you said you probably wouldn't do that with a player. Why wouldn't you do that if they would pay the highest price and seem to want him the most?)

I wouldn't comment on any specific team. I'm just saying divisional rivals, there's a special bond, I suppose we could use that word. Player-for-player within the division is rare, I would think. That was the reason I answered that. In terms of trading draft picks for another pick and then you get another pick back and all that, I don't see the harm in that. If they do good, fine, if we do good, that's even better.

(Is that why a release isn't a realistic possibility, because he could go to a team that you don't want him to?)

Again, a release just doesn't make a lot of sense from the Packers' point of view. I've not heard many people say that's a good option, even people that would like to hang me in effigy outside. They don't like that option either.

(If you are confident in Aaron Rodgers and the position the team is in, why not just release him?)

I don't think the two are intertwined there. Yes, we are very confident in our team, and when we addressed the team, we addressed them in that regard. We expect to win, just like I've told you guys. But, there's a business side of this, there's a common sense side of this that says just to relinquish all our rights doesn't make much business sense.

(Are you prepared for the possibility that he could be here on Wednesday?)

I don't think we've ... quite frankly, I talk to the team briefly and then I always leave. I don't even know what Mike talked about. Yeah, we're prepared for that. Any retired player can do this, and then you decide what you want to do after. You would go through the same processing procedure, physicals and stuff like that.

(Are you prepared for him to be the backup quarterback for the entire season?)

Well, we'll just have to see how that works out. Again, we bring him in, get him physicaled and see where it goes from there.

{sportsad300}(Mike said the other day this has been the most difficult experience of his coaching career. What has it been like for you?)

It's been difficult. I think it's been difficult for everybody, and to be fair, I think it's been very very difficult for Brett. It's not his fault that he retired. It's not his fault that he changed his mind, and we spoke about this the other day, but at the same time it's not the organization's fault either. It's just, it's a difficult spot, and everybody I believe in this wants to have a good outcome, and we're just not there yet. But as ultimately the guy responsible for this team and for the way it's portrayed publicly, it's important for us to get through this.

(What makes you so sure that you are doing the right thing by not bringing him back as the starting quarterback, as far as going with an inexperienced quarterback over a guy who has won a lot of games?)

We're still wanting to try to win football games, and we're going to win football games. I think you use the experience that you've had everywhere you've been. When I was here before, back when I was playing, all the coaches' experience that they've been through, the other people. We don't just make arbitrary decisions. We talk it over with all of our staff. We go through this over and over again, and yeah, we've talked through the different scenarios. And I understand why there are people out there that think, 'Holy smokes, you're crazy.' I just think it's important for people to know we believe this is the right direction for the Packers to go both now and in the future.

(In your most recent conversation with Brett, did he affirm his commitment to playing football this season?)

I think he said ... I think it's fair to say in that conversation he wants to play football, yes.

(Is it safe to say that you feel you will be a better team with Aaron Rodgers as the starting quarterback?)

Again, that's kind of splitting hairs there. We've made this decision, the direction we're going has been set. It will be up to history to determine whether we made the right decision.

(How much of a role does ego play in this?)

For me? None. You can have mine. I don't have one left, I don't think. Not after this.

(Is it realistic for Brett to come back after he basically called you a liar?)

Again, I've never had a bad conversation with Brett. I don't know about the translations in the media. But this is the National Football League. This is made for grown-ups. You can't be governed by your feelings. You can't be governed because somebody might have hurt your feelings. We're not going to do that, we're not going to be like that. We're going to take the high road, we're going to try to make the right decisions for the Packers, and if that's the right decision for the Packers, then that's what we'll do.

(Ryan Grant's agent made some critical comments about the offer he received. What can you say about the situation?)

The Ryan Grant thing, he is in a remarkably unique position year-wise. It's a negotiation. It's ongoing. We do not negotiate in the press. We don't think that serves a purpose. We aren't necessarily offended by the fact that some agents like to do that. But we're working through it. Ryan is a good man, a good player, and we're going to try to get him back in here.

(Any sense of a timetable?)

I don't. I think that's one of those things we spoke about before. It's sort of the cake is cooked when it's cooked.

(Was Brett's cell phone issued by the Packers?)

I will answer that question, I suppose, even though Jeff said I couldn't. I will answer it this way. There are no, and none that I've ever heard of certainly since I've been back, and I would think I would know, any cell phones that any of our players have that are issued by the Packers.

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