Ted Thompson, the former Green Bay Packers general manager who drafted Aaron Rodgers in 2005, died on Wednesday night, Packers coach Matt LaFleur announced on Thursday. He was 68 years old. Thompson was the Packers' GM for 12 years (2005-2017) before being moved into a consultant role due to his declining health.
"Our condolences go out to his family," LaFleur said Thursday, as reported by ESPN. "Certainly he's a guy that's held in the highest regard in this building and I think just around the league. He's had a tremendous impact, not only on people in this building and obviously Gutey [current Packers GM Brian Gutekunst] and a lot of our personnel people, but people in other departments as well. His impact is still felt to this day when you look at our roster, but I think he's had a tremendous impact amongst many people across the league when you look at the other GMs that have learned under him."
One of Thompson's first moves as Packers GM was drafting Rodgers, who fell to No. 24 overall in the 2005 NFL Draft. With the move, Thompson traded away Brett Favre in 2008. He hired Mike McCarthy to be the head coach in 2006 and put together a team that reached the playoffs eight consecutive years (2009-2016) played in the NFC Championship game four times (2007, 2010, 2014, 2016) and won the Super Bowl (2010).
"To have the courage at that time to do that, and what that one decision did for the organization for how many years later, that stuck with me," current Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst said before the 2020 draft when talking about Thompson drafting Rodgers. "It could have been real easy to do something different. He thought that was the right thing to do, and he did it. That's always stuck with me."
Thompson got his NFL front office career started in 1992 when he was hired as a scout by the Packers. He would be with the team for eight years before being named the Vice President of Football Operations for the Seattle Seahawks in 2004. Thompson would spend five seasons for the Seahawks before returning to Green Bay. He was also an NFL player, signing with the Houston Oilers and playing linebacker for the franchise for 10 seasons (1975-1984). Thompson was inducted into the Packers Hall of Fame in 2019.