GREEN BAY, Wis. -- If Ted Thompson looked or sounded worn out before the NFL draft – and there were plenty of people who would have described him exactly that way – then the Green Bay Packers general manager appeared energized on Saturday when talking about his most recent rookie class and his own future.
So what keeps the 61-year-old going?
"Well, I think the chase," he said. "I think when you're in the scouting business, it's the chase."
And it's a business Thompson plans to be in for the foreseeable future.
"I'm just getting started," Thompson said with a chuckle. "No. I feel pretty good. This is always a fun weekend for us in scouting, because it all kind of comes together. Sometimes you try to look away because it doesn't look quite as good as you thought it was supposed to look, and other times it's 'Hey, that's pretty good.' I think it's a cool thing to see these guys in a Packer uniform for the first time and see the enthusiasm. It'll get more interesting next week when the veterans are back."
Thompson's most recent draft was his 10th as the Packers' GM, and he's under contract for two more, having signed a five-year extension following the Super Bowl XLV victory in February 2011.
When asked whether he can say with certainty that he will remain at his post at least through the end of his contract, Thompson said: "Certainty is a fairly strong word. I'm feeling good and ready to go."
Several of Thompson's friends and colleagues have suggested in recent years that he might not work beyond his current deal, at least not in the high-pressure capacity of general manager, but Thompson said he has not given any thought to his future plan.
"I don't really have one," Thompson said. "I've never had one. I wouldn't anticipate doing anything different."
In recent weeks, it was worth wondering about Thompson’s future. He did not attend the NFL annual meetings in March like he has done in every one of his previous years as GM because of what the team called "a personal matter" that prevented him from being able to travel.
Then, during his annual pre-draft news conference, Thompson appeared worn out, although two people close to him said he only had a cold.
Twice during the three-day NFL draft last week, Thompson opened his press briefings with lengthy statements of thanks to all team personnel involved with the draft, prompting some to wonder if it was part of a retirement speech.
"No, that wasn't a prelude to me walking out, no," Thompson said. "It was a genuine [appreciation], you know, because, just the number of hours that you put in, and if I haven't over-thanked those guys in the past, that was my fault. Two times in front of [the media] is not overdoing it, I don't think."