GREEN BAY—The page has been turned on a new season, which invited the question of how many pages Packers General Manager Ted Thompson has left in his career.
“I’m just getting started,” Thompson said with a twinkle in his eye. “I feel pretty good.”
An exit plan?
“I really don’t have one,” he added.
So it is that the man who began the reconstruction of the football side of the Packers franchise in 2005, and has guided it through one Super Bowl title, three consecutive division titles and five consecutive playoff seasons, has no plan for closing the book on his career. According to his comments to the media on Saturday, as the Packers concluded their 2014 rookie camp, Thompson’s energy for the process hasn’t declined.
“The chase,” he said when asked what keeps him going. “When you’re in the scouting business, it’s the chase. Every once in a while you find somebody. You hope to find that diamond. It’s the chase.”
What player in this year’s class of undrafted free agents might be that diamond? Might it be a player among this weekend’s 28 tryout players, as it was two years ago when Jarrett Boykin emerged from the 2012 rookie camp tryout group to earn a roster spot and become a touchdown maker last season? Might this year’s diamond be tryout tight end Colt Lyerla?
“We did a lot of work on Colt,” Thompson said of Lyerla, a prospect of considerable talent but who brings with him concern for his brushes with the law and his social difficulties. “He’s very talented. We interviewed him at the combine. He’s made some mistakes. We felt he was worth bringing in and taking a look at.”
The Packers have had their look and will decide over the next few days whether or not to sign Lyerla to a contract.
“It’ll be a couple of days before we sort that all out,” Thompson said.
What will the Packers weigh in considering Lyerla for a contract?
“You weigh it all. Every case is an individual case. I’ve always believed there are certain things people can atone for, acknowledge their mistakes and get on with their lives. That’s where we are with Colt,” Thompson said.
Asked to give an overview of his nine-man draft class, Thompson said: “I was concentrating more on the tryout guys. I will say this, though: All (draft picks) look fine and they look like we thought they’d look.
“We strictly went by the board this year and tried to pick the best player. We really did,” he added. Additional coverage - Rookie orientation