Ted Thompson out as Packers GM, now senior adviser
GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Ted Thompson is out as general manager of the Green Bay Packers, but will remain as senior adviser of football operations.
It's a big change after one of the league's most successful teams missed the playoffs and finished with a losing record (7-9) for the first time since 2008.
President/CEO Mark Murphy announced the move on Tuesday. The Packers' Super Bowl victory in 2010 was the highlight of Thompson's 13-year tenure.
"Under his guidance, the Packers enjoyed a remarkable run of success, one that included our 13th world championship, four NFC Championship appearances and eight consecutive postseason berths," Murphy said in a statement. "The organization, our fans and our community were fortunate to have had one of the NFL's all-time great general managers leading our football operations."
Green Bay lost its season finale 35-11 on Sunday to the Detroit Lions. The Packers slipped below .500 this season after quarterback Aaron Rodgers missed nine games with a collarbone injury.
The offense struggled with backup Brett Hundley, and a defense stocked with high draft picks failed to improve again.
"This is a special place and we've had some success along the way, but it's the relationships that I value most," Thompson said in a statement. "This is the players' game and I appreciate all the sacrifices they have made for the Packers. I look forward to supporting this team in my new role as we strive to win another championship."
Several players spoke about the transition as they cleaned out their lockers on Tuesday.
Kicker Mason Crosby, one of the longest-tenured players, said he "hoped the new guy likes what he sees."
Veteran safety Morgan Burnett said he respected Thompson and what he did to build the team and wished him the best.
Thompson took over on Jan. 14, 2005, and selected Rodgers in the first round of the draft that year. He hired Mike McCarthy as head coach the following year.
"It's tough to see him step down. I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for him, taking a shot on me coming out as a free agent meant a little more," said guard Lane Taylor, a fifth-year player who rose from undrafted free agent to starter.
But standards are high in a city nicknamed "Titletown." The Packers are the only publicly-owned team in the NFL and play in the league's smallest market, about a two-hour drive north from Milwaukee.
Thompson has long been a target for some restless fans eager for the club to take a more aggressive approach in free agency.
A defense plagued by injuries at cornerback had some moments trying to adjust to the loss of Rodgers on the other side of the ball. But production slacked off toward the end of the season. Green Bay lacked a consistent pass rush and didn't force a turnover over the season's final three weeks.
Green Bay, which was also 22nd in defense in 2016, used its top draft pick in each of the last six seasons on defensive players. The Packers were 15th in defense in both 2014 and 2015.