Mike McCarthy was blindsided by his December 2nd firing even though he knew a playoff-less season might mark the end of his 13-year run as the Green Bay Packers head coach.
“If we missed the playoffs, I expected change might happen,” McCarthy told ESPN’s Rob Demovsky. “But the timing surprised me. Actually, it stunned me. It couldn’t have been handled any worse.”
While McCarthy spoke glowingly about his time in Green Bay, he also said “it was hard to swallow.”
“It couldn’t have been handled any worse. Anytime you lose a close game, it’s a difficult time emotionally afterwards, but when you lose a home game at Lambeau Field in December, it’s really hard. And that hasn’t happened very often. I walked out of my press conference, and I’m thinking about the game, thinking about how our playoff shot was now minimal. That’s where my head was at. And when I was told Mark Murphy wanted to see me — and the messenger was cold and the energy was bad. Mark said it was an ugly loss, and it was time to make change. He said something about the offense and the special teams, and he didn’t think it was going to get any better. There was no emotion to it. That was hard.
“Every time I released an individual, you get your words right. There’s a personal component to it. You know he has a family. He’s family. There wasn’t any of that. So that was off. … The exit really stuck with me for a while. It was hard to swallow. The emotional challenge of shifting from humiliation to reflection was a very important step in seeking clarity so I could personally grow from the experience of my entire Green Bay Packer career; that’s what I wanted to get to, not just the ending of it.
It was rumored that his dismissal was driven by a fractured relationship with Hall of Fame quarterback Aaron Rodgers, however, the McCarthy praised Rodgers while acknowledging their working partnership was far from perfect.
“To think you can be in a relationship that long and not have any frustrations, that’s unrealistic,” he said.
Mike McCarthy intends to sit out the 2019 season before attempting a comeback in 2020.