New Packers GM wants Eliot Wolf to stay but 'wouldn't hold him back'

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Brian Gutekunst wants Eliot Wolf to be his top advisor, but the Green Bay Packers general manager says he will understand if his longtime coworker leaves after getting passed over for the job.

It sounds like Gutekunst will let him go.

Wolf, who holds the position of director of football operations, did not receive a promotion Monday, when the Packers introduced Gutekunst as GM and announced changes to their management structure to include president Mark Murphy as the overseer of Gutekunst, executive vice president/football operations Russ Ball and coach Mike McCarthy.

“I would envision him kind of being a right-hand man to me,” Gutekunst said of Wolf on Monday following his introductory news conference. “We have a great relationship. I’m very fond of the person, and the scout is excellent. I’ve told him that. I really want him to be here. But I also know he has other opportunities, and I wouldn’t hold him back from that because I care about him. But if he was here, I’d like to get him more involved in the college side of stuff and have a broader approach to what he’s been doing.”

Because the 35-year-old Wolf is still under contract with the Packers, Gutekunst could block him from taking anything other than a GM job with another team, but it doesn’t sound like he would prevent Wolf from leaving.

New Browns general manager John Dorsey wants to hire Wolf as one of his top advisers. Dorsey, the former Packers’ personnel executive, already hired away Alonzo Highsmith to be his vice president of football operations.

Wolf was one of four candidates Murphy interviewed for the GM job. The others were Ball and former Bills general manager Doug Whaley.

Former Packers GM Ron Wolf did not sound happy that his son was passed over for the job he once held, telling ESPN on Sunday night, “Obviously, the people up there don't think he's worthy, or they would've hired him.”

Gutekunst, 44, got the edge over Wolf in large part because of his experience. Gutekunst is more versed in the college scouting area, having spent 13 years as an area scout and four years as the Packers' director of college scouting before he became director of player personnel in 2016.

Most of Wolf’s experience has been in pro scouting, which is why Gutekunst believes they would make a good team.

“We’ve been talking throughout this whole thing,” Gutekunst said. “Like I said, he’s a friend, and we do have a very good relationship. I talked to him multiple times and will continue to and see where it goes.”

Gutekunst is expected to retain director of college scouting Jon-Eric Sullivan and director of pro personnel John Wojciechowski.