Meeting with members of the Denver media after signing a lucrative five-year contract extension with the Broncos, former Packers receiver Javon Walker said Thompson, the Packers' general manager, is to blame for his soured tenure in Green Bay which led to the April 29 trade.
Walker, who was coming off a Pro Bowl 2004 campaign in which he caught 89 passes for 1,382 yards and 12 touchdowns, asked — no, demanded — a new contract. He hired flammable agent Drew Rosenhaus, then threatened a holdout.
Thompson called Walker's bluff. In what could have been an ugly standoff, Walker blinked first. He arrived at minicamp, and all appeared peachy in Packerland.
Except Walker was mad. So mad that, one year and a torn ACL later, he asked — no, demanded — a trade.
Recalling his conversation with Thompson, Walker said: "I said, ‘Let's just talk about it." It was just a flat-out, disrespectful ‘No."'
So, if you're mad that Walker — the offense's only big-time weapon — is gone, blame Thompson for not showing Walker the proper respect.
Nevermind that Walker didn't show the Packers an ounce of respect through this whole on-again, off-again ordeal.
That Walker asked the Packers for a new contract is perfectly fine. You can't get the money unless you ask, right? Besides, since he was coming off a monster season, it could be argued that he probably deserved a raise.
That point is neither here nor there, at this point. It's ancient history.
Regardless, that Walker went to the tried-and-true "disrespect" card is stunning, though not surprising.
First of all, the Packers have a policy of not renegotiating contracts with two or more seasons remaining on them. If the Packers made one exception, they had better be prepared to make dozens of exceptions for every player who had a good year. Heck, even Ahmad Carroll would have been knocking on Thompson's door, to brag about going 10 consecutive plays without being called for pass interference.
Second, why hire Rosenhaus? If you want to respectfully ask for a new contract, then hire a respectful agent. If Walker was smoldering over his contract situation, hiring Rosenhaus was like adding gasoline.
Third, Walker's entire professional resume consisted basically of that 2004 season. He did nothing as a rookie in 2002, and only flashed his prodigious talents during the last third of the 2003 season. That's pretty flimsy evidence to support a case for a new contract between the 2004 and 2005 seasons, and even more so if Walker thought Thompson was going to open the vault after last season's knee injury.
What's flimsier still is Walker's reasoning for needing to escape from the Alcatraz he found Green Bay to be. If he thought Thompson was disrespectful, then Brett Favre must have done the verbal version of spitting in his face and robbing his family.
When Walker started squawking before the 2005 training camp, Favre in effect told him to shut up and play.
"If Javon wants to know what his quarterback thinks, and I would think he might, I'd tell him he's going about this the wrong way," Favre said.
If that wasn't strong enough, then there's this one. "I sure hope the Packers don't give in to him."
And: "I'd just as soon go without him."
Amazingly, Walker, who felt so disrespected by Thompson, didn't have a bad word to say about Favre on Wednesday.
"I would play with Favre if he went to another team. The thing I liked about him was he gave me a chance to make plays," Walker said.
It seems to me that this was less about respect and more to do with money.
Well, Walker got his money. He got his respect. He got his pass out of Green Bay.
It's all Thompson's fault. For which we should be thankful.
Lawrence is a regular contributor to PackerReport.com. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.