Shareholders react to Jones departure

Many confident that organization will find ideal leader, some still confused

At a humid, sun-drenched Lambeau Field, the 17,000-plus crowd attending the Green Bay Packers annual shareholders' meeting Wednesday morning gained a wealth of knowledge on the team.

They heard a team report from general manager Ted Thompson.

They heard a financial report accompanied by graphics on the JumboTron, detailing the team's profits this past fiscal year and $126 million preservation fund.

They heard a management report from Vice President of Administration Jason Wied, describing just how the city of Green Bay (pop. 100,313) has survived amongst much larger markets.

But the one topic that every shareholder had at the tip of their tongue was virtually ignored.

Each presenter, including Packers chairman Bob Harlan, neglected to mention the John Jones controversy during the 57-minute presentation.

Since 1999, Harlan had been grooming Jones as his replacement to become team's next president. But last May, Jones was given a leave of absence days before he was set to take over as team president and CEO. At the time, the Packers cited "management issues" as the motive. Yet last week in a formal press release, Jones said that health reasons were the reason for his resignation.

Executive committee chairman Peter Platten provided a brief two-minute update on the team's search committee yet provided no insight on the abrupt divorce between Jones and the Packers.

The shareholders themselves are still wondering what happened behind closed doors, but have total faith in Harlan to find the new face of the franchise. Here's what a few of them had to say:

Kathy Schultz, Pewaukee, WI
"I don't know much about John Jones himself and I don't know if the reason is really medical. I'm just happy we still have Bob Harlan [as the team's principal executive]. I think he is a real class man and has the heart of the Packers in mind."

Todd Linzmeyer, Madison, WI
"If the team felt that Jones wasn't qualified than it was a lot better to get him out now and find the best person for the job. The search committee should take as much time as they need to find the right guy. The Packers must find someone who understands the direction of the NFL."

Bill Tushinski, Orlando, FL
"My only thing is that the public needs more information on what happened. Tell us what happened. Something happened in a hurry. Nobody says anything so the fans have to speculate. The team should have been up front and told everybody what the problem. If Jones really does have a health problem, than tell us. For somebody new the Packers should hire Ron Wolf."

Jim Iaquinta, Milwaukee, WI
"I have total respect and confidence in Bob Harlan and the Board of Directors. If they felt there would be real strife in administration and the team (if Jones was president) then they made a good decision in making the change now before something disastrous happened. That's how a lot of teams have been broken up. I would think that Reggie McKenzie would be a primary candidate because of his scouting experience. He respects the history, tradition, and style of the Packers."

Marian Weber, Sun Prairie, WI
"It was probably a good idea to cut ties with Jones. I'd like somebody local who knows the Packers' tradition."

Pat Mangan, Sister Bay, WI
"Bob Harlan has a track record. He has proved that he has the team's best interest at heart. It's too bad that John Jones didn't work out because it'd be nice to build within the organization."

Tyler Dunne

Tyler Dunne is a student at Syracuse University. He is in Green Bay covering the Packers during training camp for and Packer Report magazine. E-mail him at

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