Ted Thompson has no thoughts of leaving Packers front office
GREEN BAY—Ted Thompson has no plans to walk away any time soon. At least that’s what he indicated Saturday, a week after wrapping up his 10th draft as the Green Bay Packers’ general manager.
“I’m just getting started,” Thompson said with a laugh.
Thompson’s contract expires after the 2016 draft. Coach Mike McCarthy’s deal runs through the 2015 season. At some point, the Packers may need to consider the future.
Asked Saturday what his plan was, the 61-year-old Thompson said, “I wouldn’t anticipate doing anything different.” And while the GM added that “certainty” is a strong word, he’s “feeling good and ready to go.”
Many close to Thompson have said he might not work beyond his contract. And leading up to the draft, the Packers’ boss had appeared fatigued, leading many outsiders to wonder just how many years he has left in Green Bay.
On Saturday, Thompson had more of a pep in his step. For now, it’s full steam ahead.
“When you’re in the scouting business, it’s the chase,” Thompson said. “A lot of it is ‘X’ number of players at the University of Alabama. You have your list and you do those. But every once in a while you find somebody that nobody’s really keen to and you’re hoping to find that diamond that nobody else has found. And that’s hard to do with the coverage that we have in the NFL and the scouting departments that are all around the league.
“But I think it’s the chase. And most importantly, the Sundays or Mondays or Thursdays when you’ve won the game and you’re in the winning locker room. That’s as good as it gets.”
At the NFL combine, Thompson said the final topic of discussion in the draft room before a pick is how that particular player fits inside the locker room. So often, this question weeds out prospects who have gotten into trouble with the law.
Yet this past week, Thompson has given a player a chance the other 31 teams didn’t through the draft or undrafted free agency.
Oregon tight end Colt Lyerla practiced with the Packers on a tryout basis at rookie camp. On Saturday, Thompson tried to justify the decision.
“We did a lot of work on Colt,” Thompson said. “He’s a very talented athlete. We interviewed him at the combine. We went through all those procedures, talked to a lot of people. He’s a young man who has made some mistakes. We felt like he was worth bringing in and taking a look at.”
Still, Thompson does run the risk of embarrassment. Lyerla was suspended a game in 2013 for undisclosed reasons, abruptly quit Oct. 6, had his license suspended five days later and was arrested for allegedly snorting cocaine Oct. 23.
There were also controversial comments made by Lyerla on Twitter that could have scared away teams.
“Every case is an individual case,” Thompson said. “I’ve always believed there are certain things that people can atone for, acknowledge their mistakes and get on with their lives. I’m a proponent of those kinds of people that try to do that. That’s where we’re at with Colt.”
If he would have stuck with basketball, Demetri Goodson probably would be in Italy, Greece, Spain, anywhere but Lambeau Field.
Admitted Goodson, “I would probably say somewhere overseas.”
So now, the cornerback continues his improbable return to football in Green Bay. This sixth-round pick doesn’t lack confidence. After three years of college basketball at Gonzaga, followed by three years of football at Baylor, he’s in Green Bay.
Goodson was the 30th cornerback drafted. Yet he’s convinced he’s “definitely one of the best” cornerbacks in this group. He says he’s already telling Packers coaches “all the time” that they got a steal.
“I feel like I’m definitely one of the best corners throughout the draft,” Goodson said. “I think it was the combine where I really saw really everybody and I felt like I was one of the smoothest guys out there.”
In the meantime, everyone, “literally everybody” in Green Bay brings up basketball. Teammate Casey Hayward is already talking some smack, Goodson said. They’ve only gotten in some “HORSE” so far at the team court.
In his three seasons with the Zags, Goodson averaged 5.1 points, 2.1 rebounds, 2 assists and 0.7 steals. He realized the NBA wasn’t within reach and decided to switch to football.
Players have made the basketball-to-football transition before, but typically they’re forwards such as Antonio Gates or Jimmy Graham moving to tight end or receiver.
Starting at rookie camp, Goodson has tried to create a new trend.
“I’ve always been kind of a hard-nosed guy,” Goodson said. “I like to hit and stuff like that. I feel like I’m one of a kind, that’s for sure.”