GREEN BAY (NBC 26) — Former Green Bay Packers Executive Vice President, General Manager and Director of Football Operations Ted Thompson passed away Wednesday night following an illness, the Packers announced Thursday. Thompson was 68.
According to a news release from the Packers, Thompson, who spent 13 seasons as the leader of the team’s football operations, built the Packers into one of the NFL’s strongest and most consistent teams. His tenure was highlighted by a victory in Super Bowl XLV and six NFC North titles, including a franchise-record four consecutive division titles from 2011-14. The Packers led the NFC with four appearances in the NFC Championship between 2005-16.
During his time as general manager, Green Bay made nine playoff appearances, including a run of eight in a row (2009-16) that set a franchise record. Green Bay finished with a winning record nine times and won at least 10 games eight times. In 2011, the Packers set a franchise record with 15 regular-season wins.
My sincere condolences to the Thompson family. Ted was a great man and great GM for the Packers. I’ll always remember my draft day phone call. He asked me if “I’d have his back?” And I responded with saying “Not only his back, but Aaron Rodgers back too.” #RIP #ThankyouTed— David Bakhtiari (@DavidBakhtiari) January 21, 2021
Thompson was named NFL Executive of the Year two times (2007, 2011) by Sporting News in a vote of his peers. Of the 53 players on Green Bay’s Super Bowl XLV championship roster, 49 were acquired by Thompson. Highlighting Thompson’s acquisitions over the years are two-time NFL Most Valuable Player Aaron Rodgers, 2009 Defensive Player of the Year Charles Woodson, six-time Pro Bowler and franchise sack leader Clay Matthews, and Jordy Nelson, who ranks in the top five in franchise history in receptions, receiving yards, touchdown receptions and 100-yard receiving games. Between 2005-17, the Packers drafted 20 players who have made at least one Pro Bowl appearance.
Following Thompson’s tenure as General Manager, he remained involved with the team as a senior advisor to football operations.
To honor Thompson’s contributions to the organization’s success and recognize his legacy, the Packers say the team will install his name on the Lambeau Field façade before next season.
Thompson was a native of Atlanta, Texas. He was a three-year starter at Southern Methodist University and enjoyed a 10-year playing career as a linebacker with the Houston Oilers (1975-84). Thompson previously served an eight-year tenure with Green Bay’s personnel department (1992-99) and five seasons in Seattle (2000-04) as the Seahawks’ vice president of football operations before re-joining the Packers in 2005.
Thompson revealed he was diagnosed with Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) in 2019. That year, he was also inducted into the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame.
In 2017, his declining health caused him to step down from his position for the Packers that he held for 13 years.
Mike McCarthy, former head coach of the Green Bay Packers, released a statement on the passing of Thompson:
"You will hear from a lot of people who will tell you great things about Ted Thompson and what he meant to them and every word will be true. But when I think about Ted, who he was as a man, will always carry more weight than what he did professionally. There has never been a finer human being to walk the playing fields or have a presence in the scouting rooms.
Ted gave me an opportunity of a lifetime. As a young first-time head coach, who thought he had all the answers, I couldn’t have been matched with a more perfect leader. He taught me patience. I will forever remember all of the times he would simply smile at me and say, “slow down young man.”
He always protected and reinforced the importance of the tradition and history of the Green Bay Packers. It wasn’t enough just to win--it was equally important to win the right way. He exuded those qualities in everything he approached in football and in life.
Ted was very private, and few got to see the things I will miss most about him--his sense of humor, his story telling and the kindness of such a good man. I have tremendous gratitude and appreciation for the opportunities he provided for me and my family.
Ted was a man of extreme faith which gives me peace in knowing he is in a better place, but I also know, for those whose lives he touched, we are all better because of the time we were able to be with him.
Slow down, my friend. What a life you led and an example you exemplified."