GREEN BAY – There was a suddenness to the firing of Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy on Sunday night after a stunning 20-17 loss to Arizona. Players found out about it on social media and TV when they got home and interim coach Joe Philbin addressed the team Monday morning.
But Packers president and chief executive officer Mark Murphy, along with general manager Brian Gutekunst and Philbin, welcomed McCarthy back into Lambeau Field on Wednesday to give him the opportunity to address the players for a final time.
McCarthy initially returned to the team's offices Tuesday to request the meeting.
Murphy revealed that the talk took place during an interview on WTMJ radio, saying it provided “closure.” Philbin agreed.
“He wanted an opportunity to speak with the team. I was 100 percent, fully supportive of, and he did a fantastic job talking to the team,” Philbin said Thursday. “Not just about football and winning football games, but his passion. His passion for the game, his love for the players was clearly evident. I’m sure it was emotional for him and everybody in the room. It was awesome. I thought he did a great job.”
It’s rare for a fired coach to be allowed back into the building, let alone to address coaches and players, but Philbin thought it was representative of the organization’s standards – and how they feel about McCarthy.
“That’s the Green Bay Packer way, right?” Philbin said. “This is a first-class organization all the way around. I think it’s been that way for 100 seasons, I would guess. I’m not that old, but I’m guessing it’s been like that for a long time. We do things the right way around here. Mark and Russ (Ball) and Brian were all totally supportive, they think that was the right thing to do, as did I.”
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