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For Packers' Mike McCarthy, the 'big chair' and 'final decisions' as coach/GM hold no appeal

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Even as he enters his 11th season as Green Bay Packers head coach, Mike McCarthy’s responsibilities in the draft room remain relatively simple.

“Frankly,” McCarthy said Saturday evening after the Packers selected seven players in the three-day NFL draft, “just be part of the conversation.”

And he doesn’t want it any other way.

While other successful coaches -- including the last Packers coach to win a Super Bowl before McCarthy did, Mike Holmgren -- sought greater say over personnel matters as their careers wore on, McCarthy has long said he has no interest in a dual role as coach and general manager.

McCarthy reiterated that position after watching GM Ted Thompson, who hired McCarthy as coach in 2006 and saw him lead the 2010 team to the Super Bowl XLV title, run his 12th Packers draft.

“These [personnel] guys put in so much more time into this [than the coaches]. If anything, I’m more relaxed. I’m not worried about the things [they are],” McCarthy explained, adding that his primary role is to “just support the conversations that go on prior to the draft.”

McCarthy said he and Thompson meet before the scouting combine each year “to talk about our roster, the guys that are here and the vision of how I see the football team moving forward. And then he goes to work.”

While there had been talk earlier this offseason that McCarthy had expressed frustration with Thompson’s approach to veteran free agency, the coach doesn’t want to alter the team’s hierarchy.

“Ted sits in a big chair. He has to make those final decisions [during the draft],” McCarthy said. “He has a tremendous filter to take in all the information, and he’s extremely consistent with all his decision-making.”

Packers president/CEO Mark Murphy said at February's combine that he knows how much longer Thompson intends to work, and he has a succession plan in mind for when Thompson, 63, retires.

Clearly that plan isn’t to add GM to McCarthy’s titles, as the Packers did with coach Mike Sherman in 2001 when GM Ron Wolf retired. Sherman held the dual role until 2005, when then-president Bob Harlan stripped him of the GM duties and hired Thompson.

And don’t look for McCarthy to seek out a coach/GM position with another team if he ever leaves Green Bay, as Holmgren found with the Seattle Seahawks in 1999 after a seven-year run as Packers coach.

“In my opinion, for as much time as I and the coaching staff put into coaching the team, I don’t know how you could run a draft the way it needs to be ran and also run a football team,” said McCarthy, whose current contract runs through the 2018 season. (Thompson’s runs through the 2019 draft.) “I don’t think it’s feasible. I know I would be cheating one job that I’ve done forever, and [to] try to do both, I don’t think you can do it to that level.”