Ted Thompson, the former Green Bay Packers general manager who selected Aaron Rodgers and helped the team with the Super Bowl in 2010, died at the age of 68 on Wednesday night, according to Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Thompson served as the Packers’ general manager from 2005 through 2017, helping establish a dominant new era for the team with Rodgers as the centerpiece. He also hired Mike McCarthy in 2006 to replace Mike Sherman as head coach, at which point the Packers went on to make the playoffs in nine of their next 12 seasons.
While Thompson’s first draft pick as general manager was spent on Rodgers, a future NFL Hall of Famer, he brought in numerous high-level talents throughout his tenure. Among his list of draftees were wide receivers Greg Jennings, Jordy Nelson, James Jones and Randall Cobb, defensive tackles B.J. Raji and Mike Daniels, offensive guards Josh Sitton and T.J. Lang, linebacker Blake Martinez and safety Nick Collins.
Thompson’s work is also still evident on the Packers’ current playoff roster, as he drafted Rodgers, wide receiver Davante Adams (All-Pro), left tackle David Bakhtiari (All-Pro), defensive tackle Kenny Clark, center Corey Linsley (All-Pro), kicker Mason Crosby and running backs Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams. He also signed now-starting tight end Robert Tonyan as one of his final free agents.
Thompson stepped away from the GM position in 2017, clearing the way for understudy and current Packers boss Brian Gutekunst to take his place, but he remained on as a senior advisor for football operations. He had just turned 68 on Jan. 17.
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Thompson Associated With 2 Packers Super Bowls
Fans will likely remember Thompson most for his championship-winning exploits with the Packers as their general manager, but his career as an NFL executive stretches back further than most realize with the Packers first hiring him as an assistant director of pro personnel in 1992.
Thompson worked his way up the ladder over his next nine years with the franchise, rising to become director of pro personnel in 1993 and transitioning to director of player personnel in 1997, the same year in which Brett Favre and the Packers defeated the New England Patriots to win Super Bowl XXXI. He was eventually lured away after the 1999 season to become Seattle’s vice president of football operations under the guidance of former Packers coach and then-Seahawks general manager Mike Holmgren.
After five years in Seattle, Thompson made his triumphant return and went to work building a consistent NFC North winner. While Packers fans weren’t always keen on his roster decision with notable skepticism around his choice to draft Rodgers in 2005 or trade Favre away to the New York Jets a few years later. His leadership delivered six divisional titles, a Super Bowl championship, a generational quarterback and dozens of star players who embodied his vision of what Packers should be.
Thompson was inducted into the Packers Hall of Fame in May 2019.
Thompson Suffered From ‘Autonomic Disorder’
No official details have been released about Thompson’s passing, but the longtime Packers general manager had been dealing with health issues over the past several years. In fact, Thompson stepping down as GM in 2017 and passing the reins to Gutekunst was a decision made in the interest of his health.
Thompson released the following statement (via the Wisconsin State Journal) back in 2019 where he announced his diagnosis of what he called “an autonomic disorder:”
“Late in the 2017 season, Mark Murphy and I had a conversation about my health and future with the Packers. At that time, we mutually agreed that it was in the best interests of myself and the organization to step away from my role as general manager. In consultation with team physician Dr. John Gray, I began a complete health evaluation that has included second opinions over the last year from the Medical College of Wisconsin, the Mayo Clinic and the UT Southwestern Medical Center.
“I have been diagnosed with an autonomic disorder. I feel that it’s important to mention that based on the test results and opinions of medical specialists, they feel that I do not fit the profile of someone suffering from chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).
“I want to thank Dr. Gray, the medical professionals, the Green Bay Packers and my family for all that they have done and continue to do for me. It was a tremendous honor to be inducted into the Packers Hall of Fame this past weekend. The Green Bay community and the fans of the Packers have always been and will continue to be very special to me. It is my hope and belief that I will be able to overcome this disorder.
“Finally, I’d like to ask that you respect the privacy of myself and my family as we move forward.”