He seems to enjoy that part of his job immensely. Harlan has been picking up his calls instead of screening them through a secretary. He'll even call fans back if they were unable to get through or went to voice mail.
Harlan has been receiving a lot of calls this week, but not so much because general manager Ted Thompson has been quiet in free agency. Most of the calls this week and prior to the start of free agency have been regarding Randy Moss.
There seems to be a split in the Packer Nation on whether the Packers should trade for Moss, the disgruntled Oakland Raiders receiver who once faked a 'moon' to the fans at Lambeau Field. Some fans want him, but many more don't, according to Harlan, who spoke to reporters Friday at the team's annual Fan Fest in the Lambeau Field atrium.
"If I had to pick out one thing that I've heard a lot of, it's (fans) are not in favor of Randy Moss," Harlan said. "I've had a lot of anonymous calls about that. And there have been some fans that I've talked to that have been concerned that we haven't spent some money, but I try to point out that this is the way that Ted attacked free agency last year. We waited for a while and didn't want to get in on the early days, then we picked up Ryan Pickett, Charles Woodson and it worked out very well. He's going to work it the same way this year, and I don't have a problem with that."
It remains to be seen if the Packers will attempt a trade for Moss. It is believed that the Raiders and Packers have even discussed a trade. But before trading for Moss, the Packers would first have to decide if he will have a negative effect on the team's image.
That's where Harlan, whose term as team president will come to an end May 31, may draw the line. Harlan said he accepted Thompson's decision to sign troubled wide receiver Koren Robinson last September because of Thompson's familiarity with him in Seattle.
So would Moss be able to come to Green Bay and repair his questionable image?
"Ted would come and talk to me before we did anything like that, but I think I'd rather wait and see if we get to that stage," Harlan said. "He came and talked to me about Koren Robinson. I have to admit that at the beginning, I was concerned. I think the thing that swayed me is the fact that Ted said he had worked with the young man. He was a good person, and if he made one more mistake he wouldn't be here. Ted understands how our fans feel about baggage. I've had fans call me and say, ‘Bob, I'd rather see you go 0-16, then do some things here that were done in the '80s.' Believe me, I am as concerned about the image of this franchise as anybody, and will be years from now. I'm very concerned about how we look next year and the year after that, so we're going to be cautious."
Reading between the lines, Harlan is frowning on a trade for Moss. And with good reason. The Packers have a good thing going with some young, up-and-coming players like A.J. Hawk, Greg Jennings and Aaron Rodgers. Add Moss, and it might be good, as long as Brett Favre is around, but it could be disastrous if "Bad Randy" shows up on game days.
So if fans have any say with the Packers, which they do quite a bit with Harlan, trading for Moss probably will not happen.
"I don't want to say it's been overwhelming, but the things they say to me is, ‘You guys have so much class, don't lose class now.' So, I go to Ted's office and tell him that," Harlan said.
For a team, the smallest in the NFL, owned by its fans, trading for Moss may be a no-no. At least that's what Harlan is hearing.
"We've talked about any player that we bring in here and ask, ‘Does he bring baggage?'" Harlan said. "Because like Ron Wolf used to say, ‘Where do you hide him in Green Bay? You don't.' Players have to understand that. I have even talked to coaches about that: You are very visible in this community. You represent this organization each day and night. Watch what you do."
The feeling here is that the Packers will pass on trading for Moss, and image will be a factor in that decision. Not the main factor, but an issue, along with other football-related concerns.
Todd Korth is managing editor of PackerReport.com and Packer Report magazine. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.