In addition to Rodgers, who has won the N.F.L. Most Valuable Player Award twice, Thompson signed cornerback Charles Woodson, the league’s defensive player of the year in 2009; linebacker Clay Matthews, the franchise leader in sacks; wide receiver Jordy Nelson; and more than a dozen other players who made at least one Pro Bowl appearance.
Thompson was named N.F.L. executive of the year by his peers in 2007 and 2011.
Ted Clarence Thompson was born on Jan. 17, 1953, in Atlanta, Texas. His father, Jimmy, was a rancher, and his mother, Elta, was a homemaker. He helped his father, who was also a Little League coach and a disciplinarian, by feeding the cattle on the ranch.
Growing up in East Texas in the heart of football country, Thompson played running back, linebacker and place-kicker in high school. At Southern Methodist University, he was a starter for three years and was named to the academic All-Southwest Conference team; he also played on the baseball team. He finished with a bachelor’s degree in business administration.
Signed as an undrafted free agent by Coach Bum Phillips of the Houston Oilers in 1975, Thompson played linebacker with the Oilers for a decade, retiring after the 1984 season. He missed just one game because of injury.
In his second stint in Green Bay, he grew into a towering figure at Lambeau Field, a talented scout who was considered humble. In 2017 he assumed an advisory role because of health concerns, according to the team’s president, Mark Murphy.
Ron Wolf, Thompson’s predecessor and mentor in Green Bay, said that behind his protégé’s aw-shucks charm was a man with a self-made confidence.
“You have to look at his history,” Wolf said before the Packers won Super Bowl XLV. “He wasn’t drafted. He hung on. That toughness manifests itself now in what he’s been able to accomplish. He did it like Sinatra — his way. And he did it with the most prestigious franchise in the N.F.L. from a historical perspective.”
Thompson is survived by a sister, Debbie Fortenberry, and two brothers, Frank and Jim.