GREEN BAY – The search for a new general manager is already underway, Mark Murphy said on Tuesday.
The Packers President/CEO also said he’s not going to limit himself in the effort to find the best person to succeed Ted Thompson in running Green Bay’s football operations.
“This is an attractive job,” Murphy said from the podium at the Lambeau Field auditorium. “We’re going to have a lot of strong candidates across the league.”
Some of those candidates are internal, as high-level personnel executives Eliot Wolf, Brian Gutekunst and Alonzo Highsmith, along with vice president of football administration/player finance Russ Ball, have been mentioned as future GMs in the NFL.
But Murphy said outside candidates would get strong consideration as well, with a consultant being brought in to identify potential options.
The final say will be Murphy’s and he’s not focusing on, nor leaning toward, any particular type of background or resume. While cognizant that going outside the organization could result in the loss of in-house talent for other opportunities, he’s not going to let that be a driving force in the process.
He also did not give a timeline for a final decision, but he’s certainly not going to dawdle.
“There’s an old saying, we will move forward with all deliberate speed,” Murphy said. “We want to do it quickly but we also want to make sure we get the right person.”
Whoever becomes the GM will begin with Mike McCarthy as head coach. Murphy confirmed that Thompson, in conjunction with him, gave McCarthy during the past season a one-year contract extension through 2019.
The structure remains in place for the GM to have authority over the head coach, and the head coach will maintain control over his coaching staff, as McCarthy continues to assemble and align his staff for the coming season.
“Mike is our man,” Murphy said. “He is our coach.”
Thompson hired McCarthy back in 2006, his second year on the job, and the tenure of the two together ranks as one of the most successful in league history.
Nine playoff appearances (including a franchise-record eight straight), six division titles, four NFC Championship Game appearances and one Super Bowl highlight the duo’s accomplishments as Thompson now transitions into a senior advisory role.
Murphy refuted a report that the team’s board of directors forced him to make this change with Thompson, stressing that he and Thompson jointly made the decision based on recent end-of-season discussions. Thompson has always been a “scout at heart” and had expressed interest in a return to focusing his energies there.
“Where we are now, it’s in the best interests of the Packers and Ted to make this transition,” Murphy said. “I think we’re well-positioned. We’re obviously disappointed with the season this year, but I think we have the pieces in place to quickly turn things around.”
Murphy expressed the utmost respect for Thompson, his successful tenure, and the humility, consistency and calmness with which he conducted himself in such a high-profile, lightning-rod type of position.
“It was never about him,” Murphy said. “Really selfless. Very little ego, which is rare in our business. It’s been an honor to work beside him.
“I think history will look back on Ted very fondly. He served the Packers well and accomplished some pretty remarkable feats.”
The full details of Thompson’s new role have yet to be worked out, but he could certainly serve as a consultant and resource for the new GM should his successor desire.
Murphy said he would solicit Thompson’s opinion on the internal candidates for the job, but Thompson would not be part of the interview process. The ultimate call will be Murphy’s, the biggest football-related decision he will have made in his time in Green Bay.
“I’m very confident with our organization, the success we’ve had in the past, I think very realistically we can win Super Bowls in the near future,” Murphy said. “It’s now on us to get the right people in place and move forward."