Thompson Takes On The Combine


Nearly six weeks after being introduced as the Green Bay Packers' general manager, Ted Thompson met with reporters for the first time since that initial press conference and gave some insight into his first month and a half at the helm of the Green and Gold's football operation.

Speaking at the NFL's annual Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, Thompson was able to shed some more light on his vision for the club's future. He has spent much of the past month getting reacquainted with the organization and diving headfirst into his first offseason as an NFL G.M.

Over the past six weeks, Thompson has worked to get up to speed not only with the players currently on the roster of the Packers, but has put his stamp on the team's personnel staff as they plot their moves to determine the 53 players that will be hitting the turf at Lambeau Field in the fall.

There is one roster spot that Thompson doesn't have much control over, but still seemed to be the one many interviewers wanted to talk about most Friday. That, of course, is the starting quarterback position held for the past 13 seasons by Brett Favre.

Thompson said Friday that he would obviously love to see Favre return to Green Bay for at least the 2005 season, but that the decision is solely that of the quarterback and his family.

"Brett made a statement at the end of the season that he was going to take some time to think about what he wanted to do going into the future," Thompson said during his press conference. "I think he's still in that stage of thinking about it, and as I've said before, I think we all believe that Brett Favre is a unique player and a treasure.

"All of us in the National Football League, not only the Packers, but I'm sure everyone attending (the Combine) would like to see Brett continue to play. We hope that's the case, but he will make that decision on his own time."

The general manager said that he and the rest of the Packers' decision-makers will be prepared for whatever decision Favre may make. He stated that they will be ready for any number of other scenarios as well, scenarios that could arise based on the status of other free agents.

"We have dozens of offseason gameplans," said Thompson. "We attack the quarterback position just like we would any other position. 'What if this guy goes somewhere in free agency? What if this guy gets hurt in the offseason, do we have a backup there?' So you kind of have to see those things through.

"Does that mean you feel 100% comfortable all the time? No. But you do try to prepare yourself for everything that could happen, but knowing that you're probably never going to be completely prepared."

Thompson even touched on a long-time Green Bay rival that it appears won't be back at Lambeau for some time now. He was asked on multiple occasions about the reported trade of Minnesota Vikings receiver Randy Moss to the Oakland Raiders.

"My initial reaction was I'll be glad not to have to play against him twice a year," Thompson answered. "But at the same time, I'm sure the Vikings looked at it as a trade of value and they have an outstanding personnel department and I'm sure the value they got - in draft choices and Napoleon Harris - I'm sure they will try to improve their team."

In matters closer to home, Thompson said that his working relationship with Head Coach Mike Sherman has been great since he re-joined the Packers.

"It's going good," said Thompson. "He completed filling out his staff and we've been working on the draft and free agency and addressing our own particular players and things like that, (and) I think it's going very well."

As far as the business at hand and the reason why hundreds of personnel executives from each of the league's 32 teams have converged on the RCA Dome, Thompson did speak about his philosophy of drafting talented players for the long-term, rather than simply filling a short-term perceived need on the roster.

"The draft - I've always felt like - should be viewed more in a long-term point of view, that it's a long-term investment in a player that you want with your team for the long-term," he stated.

"But having said that, every team goes into free agency and the draft with particular areas that they would like to address. So you would like for the board to fall a certain way, but I think historically if you stick with value, you'll make a better investment for the long term."

In response to the notion that has been floated by some "experts" that 2005's draft class might not be as strong as those in years past, Thompson said that he feels that there is definitely talent to be found.

"I think this draft will be similar to drafts in the past where certain areas maybe are not as strong as others, but I think there's depth throughout this draft and I think that teams - if we do a good job, will have a chance to find players on the second day that can come in and play."

It's obvious that Thompson has been hard at work and will doubtlessly continue to do so in the upcoming days, weeks, and months leading up to the 2005 season. Regardless of just who is in the Green and Gold of the Packers' uniforms by the time training camp opens this summer, it's clear that the general manager will have done all he can to make this team the best it can be.

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