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08-11-2018 08:44 AM
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The son of a college football coach Curtis Samuel Jersey , Brian Gutekunst has an idea of the kind of scrutiny that he’ll receive as the new general manager of the Green Bay Packers.

Gutekunst watched his father, John Gutekunst, take heat during six-plus seasons at the University of Minnesota that ended in 1991. The new GM has heard the criticism that predecessor Ted Thompson took from some fans for a conservative approach to free agency.

The football lifer is ready for the pressure that comes with the job.

”My mom was reading in the paper some nice comments about me. I go, `Yeah, wait `til we lose,”’ the 44-year old Gutekunst joked this week.

His task is to build a roster that restores the Packers’ status as a Super Bowl contender following the team’s first losing season since 2008.

Promoted from player personnel director, Gutekunst had a hand in helping Thompson shape the rosters for an organization that just had its streak of eight straight postseason appearances snapped. The Packers won the Super Bowl in the 2010 season during Thompson’s 13-year tenure.

Thompson moved to a senior adviser role in the front office two days after the season ended with a 35-11 loss at Detroit.

”I’ve grown up in football all my life and my dad went through some times at the University of Minnesota where it wasn’t very good and they weren’t saying very good things,” Gutekunst said. ”The one thing I learned about that, usually (for) the guy in the chair it’s not as hard to take. You worry about your family.”

Added Gutekunst: ”To me, for the guys who work here, you just expect it. … You have to keep moving forward.”

It is what Gutekunst has done in the game since playing college football for two seasons at Wisconsin-La Crosse. He served as an assistant coach for his final two seasons after a shoulder injury ended his playing career. Gutekunst coached the linebackers when La Crosse capped an undefeated season with the Division III national title in 1995.

That year, Gutekunst got his first taste of the pros after assisting in New Orleans Saints training camp in 1995. He was a summer scouting intern for Green Bay in 1997 and a scouting assistant for the Kansas City Chiefs the next year before returning to the Packers full time as a scout late in 1998.

Gutekunst didn’t follow his father’s advice to stay out of football entirely.

”I think looking back at it right now, the coaching business is so volatile, and moving your family every two to three years is a tough deal,” he said. ”We’ve had a lot of stability here, and I feel very thankful for that Antonio Morrison Jersey , for me and my family.”

The Packers plan to stick with a ”draft-and-develop” philosophy as the roster-building foundation, though Gutekunst has also indicated he might be more open to making additions through trades and free agency as well.

He is already starting to differentiate himself in another noticeable way.

The first transaction under the new regime was the signing of a relatively unknown running back, first-year player Joel Bouagnon out of Northern Illinois. The accompanying post on Twitter included a picture of a smiling Gutekunst next to Bouagnon.

Thompson was notoriously media-shy. Coach Mike McCarthy was often left with the task of answering questions about high-profile topics that might be more appropriate for a GM, such as when outspoken tight end Martellus Bennett was waived at midseason.

”I don’t think the new GM could do less than Ted did,” team president Mark Murphy joked last week. ”There (are) some positives that come from it, but obviously there’s some downsides … Ted saw some of the downside and decided not to be overly involved.”

According to Gutekunst, one of the first pieces of advice that Thompson offered after getting the job on Sunday was to smile more at his first press conference.

John Gutekunst told his son to be humble, and to make sure that he takes care of his staff.

”Now, you know, on Mondays after watching our game,” the younger Gutekunst said, ”he’ll tell me some other things.”



In a showdown of All-Star sluggers, Nelson Cruz had more RBIs, but J.D. Martinez had more help.

Martinez homered and drove in five, and the Boston Red Sox rallied from a five-run deficit to beat the Seattle Mariners 14-10 on Friday despite a monster night from Cruz.

Cruz had a pair of three-run homers and drove in seven, but the Mariners still lost their season-worst fifth straight game Torrey Smith Jersey , including three earlier this week at Yankee Stadium. Seattle led 4-0 and 10-5 before a wild Red Sox rally fueled by RBIs from eight different players.

”That’s some fight. We’ve got a great group in here and that was a good one for us,” said Mitch Moreland, who had three hits including a triple as the Red Sox set a season-high with 20 hits.

Martinez went 4 for 5, including a two-run homer in the sixth and two doubles as he and his teammates avenged a 1-0 loss at Seattle against Wade LeBlanc six days earlier. LeBlanc started again Friday but did not fare so well in Boston.

”He pitched a great game against us last time. We all had a little chip on our shoulder coming into today,” said Martinez, who has 23 homers.

Reliever Matt Barnes (1-2) got the win with one scoreless inning, and Craig Kimbrel pitched the ninth.

Juan Nicasio (1-4) took the loss, allowing five runs on four hits in one-third of a lousy seventh inning.

”We were in control after a crazy first inning. We banged it around and they banged it around some, but our guys kept tacking on there. Just couldn’t hold them off at the end,” Seattle manager Scott Servais said.

The only flaw to the second half of the game for Boston: shortstop Xander Bogaerts left in the seventh with a sprained index finger on his left hand.

After Cruz put Seattle up 3-0 in the first with his 19th home run, Ryon Healy added a solo shot during Seattle’s four-run first inning as the Mariners got to knuckleballer Steven Wright. Seattle added two more off Wright in the second after Boston’s five-run bottom of the first.

Despite allowing 10 runs on 10 hits, Wright got a no-decision.

”I might go buy a lottery ticket now because that never happens,” Wright said.

Seattle scored four in the fourth, including Cruz’s second shot of the game, but Boston’s bullpen shut down Seattle the rest of the way while the Mariners’ imploded.

”Tough one,” Cruz said. ”It’s a shame because the pitchers have been doing a really good job. They’ve been throwing the ball with consistence Dontari Poe Jersey , but it happens.”

Rafael Devers singled in a run in the fifth, and then Martinez homered off Nick Vincent to center in the sixth to pull Boston within 10-8. Mitch Moreland followed with a triple just beyond the reach of diving right fielder Mitch Haniger, and Bogaerts drove in Moreland with an infield single

Barnes struck out the side in the seventh, and then Boston got to Nicasio. Devers singled to lead off, Blake Swihart singled with one out and Nicasio walked Mookie Betts to load the bases. Andrew Benintendi blooped a single into shallow center to bring in Devers and tie it at 10.

Swihart was nearly picked off third as Benintendi scored, but he slid under the tag after a strong throw by center fielder Guillermo Heredia. Seattle did not challenge the close play, and Martinez followed with a two-run single.

Nick Rumbelow later allowed Benintendi to score on a wild pitch, and Eduardo Nunez added a pinch-hit RBI single.

BIG BATS

The Red Sox have come from behind in 22 of their 51 wins. The 14 runs tied their season scoring high and the 20 hits were four more than they had in a game this season.

”It was a weird game,” Benintendi said. ”It’d be easy to give up in that situation and just kind of coast through the game, but we kept fighting and putting good at-bats together all throughout the lineup.”

TRAINER’S ROOM

Mariners: Activated RHP Vincent (strained right groin) from the 10-day DL and optioned RHP Ryan Cook to Triple-A Tacoma.

Red Sox: Benintendi needed a minute to collect himself after running hard into the Green Monster on a double by Denard Span.

UP NEXT

Mariners: RHP Mike Leake (7-4, 4.47 ERA) gets his second straight start against the Red Sox after taking the loss Sunday in Seattle, allowing five runs on eighth hits in six innings.

Red Sox: LHP Eduardo Rodriguez (9-1, 3.59) has won a career-high six straight starts, including Boston’s 9-3 victory over the Mariners in Seattle on Sunday.

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