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Thompson talks about keeping Packers young

Packers GM comfortable with talent at ILB, CB


PHOENIX—Packers General Manager Ted Thompson provided a look into his philosophy of assembling and maintaining a football roster.

"Age does have an effect on players. There's a shelf life. When do we make that change? When do we do that turnover? There has to be a continual turnover," Thompson told reporters at the NFL annual meeting on Monday.

Thompson was responding specifically to questions pertaining to the turnover at inside linebacker and cornerback, where veterans A.J. Hawk and Tramon Williams have left the team recently. Hawk was released; Williams was signed by the Browns in free agency.

"Do we want to keep this guy now or do we put our personnel people to work and find a younger guy?" Thompson said.

It has been Thompson's greatest achievement as Packers GM that he has kept the team's roster young in the midst of a six-year playoff run. This year, the Packers' roster will have no choice but to get younger.

"A.J. was quite the warrior, sometimes I think underappreciated. It was a hard thing. Somebody that played that long and hard for us, it was hard for me," Thompson said of his decision to release Hawk, who has since signed with the Bengals.

Williams was one of the stars of the Packers' 2010 Super Bowl run. It's expected Casey Hayward will replace Williams.

"We think Casey is a pretty good corner. We think he'll be able to play, sure," Thompson said when asked about Hayward's potential move from the slot position to the boundary position.

"We're pretty comfortable," Thompson added of the challenge to address the need at cornerback and inside linebacker. "Every year there are guys that go elsewhere. That's just part of the game now.

"You have to keep marching forward and you can't worry about every bump in the road. We have people that can evaluate players and we have people that can coach them."

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