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Packers' McCarthy giving up play-calling surprised GM

INDIANAPOLIS -- Green Bay Packers general manager Ted Thompson admitted Thursday that Mike McCarthy's decision to give up play-calling duties caught him by surprise.

"Yeah, a little bit," Thompson said from the NFL Scouting Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. "Mike does a lot of thinking and he examines everything, even to the fine-tuned point of what he presents to the team, what he's going to say to them on Thursday, what he's going to say to them on Friday. He thinks all that through and he's thinking in the macro sense right now in terms of how best to use his time. Where he'd like to interject a little bit more of his own attitude into different parts of the team.

"I think that's probably the main thing, he wants to spread himself out a little bit more."

Thompson added that "most of that (play-calling decision)" was McCarthy's thinking. The coach bounced his reasoning off Thompson. Tom Clements will call plays for Aaron Rodgers in 2015.

In other Packers news, Thompson kept things close to the vest when asked about Randall Cobb, the team's most important free agent.

"We'd like to re-sign all our free agents, so ... sure," he said.

Thompson didn't reveal much more when Cobb came up again in the hallway outside the press conference room.

"We say the same thing every year," he said, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "It's no secret that we try to keep and maintain our own guys as much as possible."

Other Thompson nuggets ...

» Thompson swatted away a question about the possibility of Lions defensive star Ndamukong Suh leaving the NFC North, citing league tampering rules.

» Thompson talked up tight Richard Rodgers, saying the rookie tight end "was one of those guys who had production going down the stretch." Rodgers had a touchdown reception in the playoff win over the Cowboys, and four-catch afternoon in the NFC title game loss to the Seahawks.

» We really wish reporters here would stop asking coaches and GMs about running backs being devalued on draft day. Thompson offered an appropriate response to the latest query: "I think it's just the way it goes. Whether it's this year or another year, it doesn't mean anything. It's cyclical." Let's move on, society!

The latest Around The NFL Podcast breaks down RGIII's appointment as starter and Larry Fitzgerald's new deal with the Cardinals. Find more Around The NFL content on NFL NOW.

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