GREEN BAY, Wis. – On March 20, 2012, the Green Bay Packers hosted veteran center Jeff Saturday on a free-agent visit.
General manager Ted Thompson was not there. Instead, he was in Ames, Iowa, for Iowa State’s pro day. He wasn’t there to watch a member of the Cyclones, though. Instead, an official in Iowa State’s football department at the time said Thompson was probably there to watch Damon Harrison, an unknown (at the time) defensive lineman from William Penn, an NAIA school in Oskaloosa, Iowa.
“To me, that story sums Ted up right there. That’s him,” said Jim Nagy, the Senior Bowl executive director who got his start in the NFL as an intern with the Packers in 1996.
Thompson, who built the teams that won the 2010 Super Bowl and advanced to NFC Championship Games in 2007, 2014 and 2016, died Wednesday at age 68.
“There’s a lot of people in the league right now that are affected by this. I think all the scouts would say, ‘He was one of us.’ So, it’s a sad, sad day,” Nagy said.
Nagy didn’t get to know Thompson during the Packers’ Super Bowl XXXI championship season but gained a deep amount of respect for him as their paths crossed over the years. Whether it was on-campus stops during the college season, or the all-star games, Scouting Combine and pro days during the lead-up to the draft, Thompson “always saw himself as a scout,” Nagy said.
“Some guys move up the ranks and they enjoy putting the suit on and walking around the field on gameday and doing all those things being the face of the franchise,” Nagy said. “I always appreciated the fact that when you’d be at a school with Ted, even when he was the GM of the team, he was like a scout when he was on campus. He didn’t just sit back and let the scouts do the work. He was a scout that day. I Just loved that approach that he took to the job as he moved up on the ladder.”
Here are some social media tributes to Thompson: