Thompson is entering his 10th season as general manager and turned 61 in January. After he looked fatigued before the draft, there was speculation that his time atop the franchise’s football operations was winding down, with his contract set to expire following the 2016 draft.
Instead, an energized Thompson will continue to guide one of the NFL’s enduring powerhouses.
“I felt very appreciated by the organization and honored to work in this position with such fine people,” Thompson said in what was a regularly scheduled news conference on Wednesday. “The more you think about it, the more you think, ‘How nuts are you that you’d walk away from something like this?’ It’s important to me. It’s not my family but I’ve got a lot of really good friends here and co-workers that I enjoy coming to work with every day.
“It’s life but it’s life on an exaggerated scale. You’re playing in the NFL and you’re trying to win and compete at the NFL level and that is so hard to do. To get a chance to continue to do that after you put all the chips on the table, there’s very little choice there. I want to be here. From a native standpoint, it’s easy to say, ‘Well, I’m going to walk off into the sunset’ or go milk some cows or whatever it was I was supposed to go do. But I have people that I’m responsible for here, too – people that I’ve hired that have taken up this position because of my insistence or encouragement -- so there’s a certain amount of responsibility that you have for the people you work with.”
In his first nine seasons, the Packers have posted an 86-57-1 record with four NFC North titles. Green Bay has gone 6-5 in the playoffs, including a Super Bowl victory following the 2010 season. The 92 total wins during that span rank fifth in the NFL.
The next priority, Thompson said, is to extend coach Mike McCarthy’s contract, whose deal runs through the 2015 season. Thompson hired McCarthy in 2006, with the Packers posting winning seasons six of the past seven seasons, including the Super Bowl in 2010 and division crowns in 2011 through 2013.
“I think when two people work together for as long as Mike and I have, I think you develop certain understandings of each other,” Thompson said. “There are certain things you can communicate that are unsaid as opposed to originally when you probably need to spell everything out. But I think we have a very good working relationship. We anticipate each other’s thoughts often, which might drive both of us crazy sometimes, but I think it’s working well and has worked well. Obviously, we see things pretty close.”
Joking that he’s “not a very specific guy,” Thompson wouldn’t elaborate on terms of his contract. With several key players under long-term contracts and a healthy salary cap, Thompson has the team poised for continued success.
“I think I’ll just let it play itself out,” Thompson said. “Most people in life have these artificial dates in mind, ‘I’m gonna retire when I’m X years’ or a certain age. I think everybody is different. It seems to me that a lot of people can be very productive later on in life. We’ll see. I enjoy what I do and I’ve got really good people that I work with, and I think because of that I feel pretty energized to keep going.”
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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com, and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org, or leave him a question in Packer Report’s subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.