Packers, McCarthy closing in on contract extension

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Mike McCarthy's new deal with the Green Bay Packers might be just a signature away.

Packers chairman Bob Harlan said Friday negotiations between the team and McCarthy are progressing well but are not complete.

"The signed copy has not crossed my desk yet," Harlan said.

Harlan said negotiations have been going well, but this week has been "slow" because Packers general manager Ted Thompson was in Houston scouting the East-West Shrine game and McCarthy has been preparing the team for Sunday's NFC Championship game against the New York Giants at Lambeau Field.

"Ted's handling it with Mike, and it's going very well," Harlan said. "It's just not finished."

McCarthy confirmed earlier this week that the two sides were making progress on a new deal, but didn't seem eager to talk about it for fear that it could create a distraction going into Sunday's game.

McCarthy has a year left on the original three-year deal he signed in January 2006, but NFL teams often try to lock up valued coaches before the final season of their contract -- especially when they lead the league's youngest team to a 13-3 regular-season record and a playoff victory, as McCarthy has done this season.

Packers officials have said publicly that they hope to have a new deal with McCarthy in place before the Super Bowl, a move that would provide long-term stability at three of the team's most important management positions.

Earlier this month, the Packers gave a five-year contract extension to Thompson. And last month, former Northwestern athletic director Mark Murphy was chosen to become the successor to Harlan, the Packers longtime top executive.

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press

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