Aaron Rodgers paid tribute to former general manager Ted Thompson, who passed away this week.
Three days out form the NFC Championship Game, the Green Bay Packers received the sad news that former general manager Ted Thompson had passed away Wednesday night at the age of 68. Thompson took over as the general manager in 2005 and stepped down in 2017, bringing one Super Bowl to Green Bay in 2010. He managed to accomplish that with his very first draft pick in quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
On Thursday, Rodgers released a statement to honor the man who took a chance on him in the 2005 NFL Draft, talking about how much he meant to him.
Rodgers’ fall in the NFL Draft worked to Thompson’s benefit
Entering the 2005 NFL Draft, the belief was that Rodgers would be the first overall pick by the San Francisco 49ers. It made sense, given his skill-set and that he attended college at California-Berkeley. However, the 49ers opted to take Utah’s Alex Smith instead, which forced Rodgers to enter a very publicized free-fall in the first round. That worked to Thompson’s benefit, who opted to select Rodgers with the 24th overall pick even though Brett Favre was still starting under center for Green Bay.
The pick worked out wonderfully for Thompson, as Rodgers stepped in as the starter after Favre retired following the 2007 season and solidified himself to be one of the best quarterbacks in the game. Five years after the selection, Thompson was rewarded with the Lombardi Trophy after the Packers defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers 31-25 in Super Bowl 45.
Rodgers will be forever grateful for Thompson taking a chance on a young quarterback out of Chico, California. The Packers will no doubt be playing for Thompson’s memory on Sunday, with the goal of reaching the Super Bowl for the first time in 10 years.