The Packers general manager, who will be entering his second season with the team, wants his own man. Thompson never uttered those words during his press conference on Monday, declining to give any reasons for his decision to fire Sherman after the Packers' 4-12 season.
Sherman was asked immediately today the reasons Thompson gave him for his dismissal, but the former head coach said, "Ted just felt there was a need, at this time, to make a change. I asked him if it had anything to do with coaching, and he said, ‘no.'"
Thompson did say that the firing had nothing to do with the team's dismal record this season. And despite handing Sherman a two-year contract extension last August that guarantees him a whopping $6.4 million, Thompson now feels the team needs ‘a new face.'
"Before I signed that contract, I also said that ‘I don't need to sign this unless you feel strongly about me and believe in me. We can go get this thing done together,'" Sherman said. "That's the way I felt about it at that time."
Thompson said, at the time, that Sherman "deserved" the new deal.
But five months later, Thompson's mood has changed, so he pulled the shade on Sherman's stay in Green Bay on ‘Black Monday.' While $6.4 million is a lot of money to give someone as a going away gift, it is no object to an organization that has nearly $100 million in reserves.
Why? Why did the GM pull the trigger? Thompson obviously wants his own guy. He wants to pick his head coach like most other general managers do. He wants to form his own team, and put his stamp on it. He began last off-season by re-shaping the roster. The Packers entered the 2005 season with a record 11 rookies on the roster, and a promising first-round quarterback behind Brett Favre. Though the team was decimated by injuries at three skill positions, it remained competitive and played hard under Sherman. Brett Favre and Ryan Longwell had subpar seasons because of the new personnel, but still those weren't enough reasons to save Sherman from the ax.
Sherman said he spoke with Detroit Lions interim coach Dick Jauron prior to their game in December. He told Jauron, ‘Dick, one thing I've learned is that this is not a rationale business. You can't take things personal."
Thompson's move to release Sherman was hardly personal. He simply wants to pick his own coach. He would have saved the organization millions by making the move last year at this time, but he had no reason. On Monday, he had 12 (losses) reasons to release Sherman, even though he said that wasn't the case. Sherman today alluded to the real reason why he was fired:
"I think Ted came into a difficult situation," Sherman said. "When Ted came here, we were tied for fourth with (New England) Coach (Bill) Belichick in the regular season for the amount of wins in that span of time. We won football games. That was never an issue with Ted, ever. I'm sure Ted felt at times with me having been the general manager, and I'm certainly not the guy that he chose, that sometimes you just need your own guy. Maybe that's the situation that happened here. He never shared that with me."
And Thompson may never share that with anyone in the near future, but there lies the real reason behind the GM's move.
Todd Korth is managing editor of PackerReport.com and Packer Report. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.