Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Brett to come back to Pack...at least for a while

It's official: Brett Favre has finally submitted his reinstatement papers to the NFL Commissioner's office. According to a report in the Green Bay Press-Gazette, "The Packers issued this one-sentence statement shortly before 5:30 p.m.: 'We have been advised that a letter of reinstatement has been received by the league office. As with all matters like these, any questions should be referred to the commissioner’s office.'" That means Brett will likely be at Packers training circus, er, camp before the end of the week. See more here.

On other fronts related to Brett, it appears that there are not many eager takers for his services at this point, at least among those teams to which the Packers would consider trading Brett. More on that story here.

And how is the current starting QB, Aaron Rodgers, handling things? Check out this story and this one for more on that angle.

This should be REAL interesting, kids. The Hall of Fame QB coming into camp as the designated -- and disgruntled -- back up. Wow.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Favre to Packers: trade me

According to a report just breaking in the Green Bay Press-Gazette, "The rift between quarterback Brett Favre and the Green Bay Packers is escalating, and he’s giving the team until Tuesday or Wednesday to work out a trade or he will report to their training camp." Further, a "source confirmed the Internet reports that Favre asked the Packers on Saturday whether he could come in and compete for his starting job against Aaron Rodgers but was rebuffed."

And while this poster and others have continually pointed out that Brett had yet to officially ask for his reinstatement through the NFL Commissioner, "Favre also said he’s signed his letter of request for reinstatement but has not yet faxed it to the NFL offices." C'mon, Brett, pull the trigger and let's really ramp up this circus, shall we?

Folks, as sad as it is to really say it, Brett will never be in a Packers uniform again unless it's just part of the process to trade him to another team. Reports are that both the NY Jets and Tampa Bay Buccaneers have been given permission by the Packers to talk with Brett, although it's not clear whether the teams or Brett are really interested in each other.

So, if Brett requests reinstatement but neither he nor the Packers can agree on a team to send him to, then what?

It is an absolute nightmare. And making the Pack a bit of a laughing stock in some circles. After all, when even prop comic extraordinaire, Carrot Top, makes a tissue dispenser out of a Packers helmet for crying Packer fans as one of his new bits...you know the apocalypse is upon us. No, wait, that would be if Brett wound up going to Da Bearz or ViQueens.

But as the Packers get ready to start training camp tomorrow, the only things that are clear are these two: Aaron Rodgers is the new starting QB, and Brett Favre is done in the Green 'n' Gold.

And, oh yeah, even our breakout runner of last year, Ryan Grant, won't report to camp just yet because he's not happy with the contract offer being tossed his way.

Welcome back to summer training camp, folks!

You can find the entire Press-Gazette article here.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Latest report: Favre to report to training camp

Hold on to your seats, Packers fans. According to the NFL Network and an NFL source, Brett has apparently told the Packers he intends to come to training camp this week. What a development. Question is: good, bad or...?

But does this mean Brett accepts his new backup role? Or does it mean that it's a negotiating tactic for a trade? Stay tuned, folks!

Read more about this latest story here.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Packers shareholders split

Packers shareholders split about Brett Favre and Ted Thompson had their say today after the Packers' annual shareholders meeting at Lambeau Field. To get a feel for what went on, check out this article from the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel and this one from the Green Bay Press-Gazette.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

It's a sad, sad time in Packerland

Can the situation with Brett Favre become any worse at this point? Really. Now the Packers are supposedly contacting "everybody" -- at the encouragement of the NFL Commissioner -- to see what interest there may be out there for Brett. See more here.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Favre to 'Skins?

This is the scenario Peter King sets up in his latest entry at SI.com, especially after they picked up Jason Taylor from the Dolphins. The Redskins have been one of the teams mentioned from the get-go in a possible Favre unretirement-trade scenario. Who'da thunk it? Lombardi to the Redskins. Favre to the Redskins. Anyway...check out King's article here.

But then there's this bit from profootballtalk.com in which the Packers reportedly gave Brett a list of three teams to which they’d attempt to trade him and Brett refused each one. Does that mean he stays retired. Only Brett knows. Maybe. Mike Florio at profootballtalk.com thinks Brett's done. I wouldn't bet on it.

And if you want to read a real turnabout article on one reporter's change of view, you have to check out this article on CBSSportsline by Gregg Doyel. It really cuts to the chase of how Brett's image has suffered -- at least in some circles -- by the events of the last week or so.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Reminder and notice

Packer fans: Just a quick reminder that you get FREE shipping on orders over $65 through 11:59 p.m. tonight, July 20, at our PackerFansUnited.com shop! T-shirts, hats, sweatshirts, mugs, clocks, and array of other cool gear and gifts are waiting for you. Just enter promotion code "FREESUMMER" at checkout. Stock up now for the season! The shipping is on us! But only through today. Visit our PackerFansUnited.com store today!

It's possible that this writer may be offline for a week or so. Or maybe not. But just in case there's a bit of a lag in posts from yours truly, you'll know why. I hope it's a quiet week in Packerland. But somehow, given present circumstances, probably not. We might have some catching up to do later on. In the meantime, enjoy your summer!

New Poll
We've added a new poll asking how you think the current Favre-Packers standoff will wind up. You'll find it in the usual place in the righthand column under our PackerFansUnited.com shop. The poll be open through noon on Tuesday, July 29. Tell us -- and other Packer fans -- how you think things will turn out.

Favre salutes his old center, and gets some fan love, too

Brett Favre presented his old center, Frank Winters, for induction into the Packers Hall of Fame at last night's banquet, held in the Lambeau Field Atrium. As a result of the Packers laying down some ground rules for the media -- which, amazingly, seem to have been respected -- and Brett focusing on Winters and the two other inductees, Gilbert Brown and Al Treml, things went off seemingly without a hitch.

According to one report, "When Favre and Winters entered the Lambeau Field Atrium, they were met with the loudest and lengthiest of cheers from the packed, sold-out crowd. Not a single jeer or boo was heard."

It's still unclear, though, whether there was any chit-chat between Brett and Ted Thompson despite their sitting only two tables away from one another.

Brett also received the 2007 MillerCoors (new merger for those not keeping up on the beer biz) MVP award for setting NFL records in touchdowns, passing yards, completions and attempts. Reports say "he received even more cheers and then an enthusiastic standing ovation."

Another report stated that "Favre made a point of embracing the Packers’ storied past. 'That’s the thing with Green Bay, it’s a special place,' said Favre. 'There’s a lot of tradition. You think of the Packers, you think of all these great names. To be a part of that … is a special thing.' From a public relations standpoint, Favre was on his game. He even wore a sport coat for the occasion, so you knew this was no ordinary night."

Brett in a sport coat, sans tie, but still...you have to wonder whether his feelings will change if there's no resolution to the standoff. It seems clear, though, for now, that Brett is able to separate his feelings for the Packers and the fans from his feelings for GM Ted Thompson. So if nothing else, we can hold on to that. For now.

You can read a couple accounts of last night's event -- including an intersting comment from Gilbert Brown -- here and here.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Favre lands in Green Bay

Brett Favre's private jet indeed landed at Austin Straubel Field in Green Bay this afternoon at about 3:30. From there, it was off to Lambeau to talk to the media. No, not about...well, you know. It was to say a few words to the media about the fellow he's going to be presenting at tonight's Packers Hall of Fame induction banquet, Frank Winters.

So, how did all this -- and words from the other presenters -- work out? See for yourself in almost a minute-by-minute report here.

Favre expected to present Winters tonight

As previously mentioned here, and plenty of other places, ol' #4 is supposed to be in Green Bay to present his former center, Frank Winters, for induction into the Packers Hall of Fame tonight. (Can you say "awkward"?) All indications are that he's still set to do so, with wife, Deanna, also expected to attend. Other inductees are Gilbert Brown and Al Treml.

Presenters also typically meet with the media the afternoon prior to the evening's induction banquet. Will Brett show up for that part of the weekend? Just in case he does, the Packers have already made it clear to the media who might attend (do you think there might be just a few extra reporters there?) that Favre will talk only about what he will say about Winters.

Let's see how that works out, shall we?

Tony Dungy's view
If you want to hear what one of the more articulate members of the NFL coaching fraternity has to say about the Favre-Packers situation, Indianapolis head coach Tony Dungy made a few comments on a Chicago sports station yesterday. Interesting take on things from a former player and one of the more thought-full coaches in the league. Go here to check to check it out.

PackerFansUnited.com Favre poll results
The poll that we've been running for the last 10 days or so has now closed. Approximately 61% of those responding indicated that they felt the Packers should take Brett back and make him the starter; 23% percent said the Packers should try to talk him into staying retired; and 15% said to trade him to a team outside the division (rounding means the total does not equal 100%). Interesting that it seems like a lot of the media pundits in the last few days seem to be moving to the notion that if Brett asks for reinstatement the Packers will trade him. While still acknowledging the argument of how Brett has earned the right to decide where he wants to go, it's also obvious the Packers still own his rights and would not let him depart without getting something in return for him. That's business. Which is the part of the equation the players always bring up in asserting their supposed rights. What's a fair argument on their side is also then a fair argument on the part of management: it's a business. It's just sad -- as Tony Dungy said (see above) -- that Brett decided to play this out in public. That changes everything...and not for the better.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Surely, the Apocalypse is now upon us

What are the signs of the Apocalypse? You know: global warming, severe storms, earthquakes, tidal waves, gas at $4 a gallon, reality TV shows...the list goes on and on. A more recent item added to this list is the possibility of Brett Favre becoming a ViQueen.

But perhaps the topper is this: Brett Favre as a (shudder) Chicago Bear. Now, before you go sticking your head in the nearest oven (I tried it and...well...it's not all it's cracked up to be...especially if you just have an electric oven), be aware that this is the opinion of a Chicago Tribune columnist. So take it for what that's worth. It's Chicago ("Vote early, vote often"). And it's Da Bearz ("Our Motto: Mediocrity & Failure through Frugality").

One thing I think Packer fans should count on, particularly after Brett's outspokenness, shall we say, this week, is that the Packers will NEVER allow him to go to either the ViQueens or Da Bearz. Unless he decides to unretire at age, oh, 90 perhaps. Which, with Brett, seemingly could be a possibility, who knows?

But if you care to indulge a Chicago columnist's desire to fill space, you can read the story here.

Brett, regrettably for all parties involve, may play somewhere other than the hallowed ground of Lambeau Field this season. But the only way that will be in Minnesota or Chicago is still as a member of a visiting team.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Brett Speaks: Part Three...Plus Possible ViQueens Tampering?

Who knew there was yet a Part 3 to Brett's interview with Greta Van Susteren? There is. Aired tonight on Fox.

Brett basically accused Packers GM Ted Thompson of lying to him. And of blowing it by not resigning offensive guards Mike Wahle and Marco Rivera a couple years back (most Packer fans would likely agree with that assessment), and not even talking to Steve Mariucci as a possible head coach replacement (for the fired Mike Sherman) after Brett had been told by Thompson that he would do so. But the incident which really burned Brett's butt was not signing Randy Moss. "I worked my butt off two years ago," Brett said in reference to his efforts to get Moss signed to the Packers. Brett stated he even offered a part of his own salary to help cover Moss's salary, and that could be confirmed by Andrew Brandt, who at the time was the point man with the Packers in terms of negotiating contracts. According to Brett, the Packers could have had Moss for $3 million for one year; instead, he was offered less than $2 million. After Moss's signing with New England, Thompson was apparently asked at a press conference if Brett had worked hard to get Moss on the team. Brett says that Thompson said "not that I know of." "That's just bull," Brett stated.

Brett indicated it was hard for him to trust Thompson after these incidents where he feels he was told one thing and the public was told something else. Can't blame a guy for feeling that way if all is as he said it was.

So...the soap opera continues. And it's clear the rift between Brett and Thompson is a big one.

But if Brett really wants to put his now-nemesis Ted Thompson on the hot seat the best way for him to do that is not to rip him a new one in the media, but rather to send the required letter to the NFL Commissioner requesting reinstatement. The Packers can't do anything until Brett does that because as far as the league and team are concerned, Brett is still retired. If he wants to unretire, he needs to get reinstated first.

But, according to Brett's agent, Bus Cook, as reported in this ESPN.com story, "We have no definite plans to ask for reinstatement. Right now we have until the sixth week (of the regular season) and Brett has made it pretty clear that he is not willing to come in as a backup. If he asks for reinstatement and they start fining him $15,000 a day (for not reporting to training camp), well that just doesn't make sense. We're going to let Green Bay decide what they want to do. It's their move."

Possible Tampering by the ViQueens?

As if this whole situation isn't bad enough, this same ESPN.com story noted above also reports the following: "ESPN.com has confirmed that the Packers have filed tampering charges with the NFL against the Minnesota Vikings, alleging 'inappropriate dialogue' with offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell, a close friend of Favre's and a former Packers assistant.

"The Vikings, according to a source, are expected to contend Bevell may have had conversations with Favre as a friend but had no involvement in discussing a job with the Vikings.

"Vikings coach Brad Childress has said in recent days the franchise is content with Tarvaris Jackson as their starting quarterback. What the Packers contend is that Favre and Bevell may have discussed Favre coming to the Vikings."

What a mess. What a way for everyone to lose.

Brett Part Deux

What more can be said? Part 2 of the Brett Favre interview is here.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

You know it's bad when...

The news media and blogosphere have of course been abuzz with comments on Brett Favre's comments (Part One) on Fox last night. Part Two airs this evening.

But you really know that things have taken a very strange turn when Brett's saga becomes a talking point on ABC's The View. The horror! The horror!

Oh...how do I know that? Don't ask... (shudder)

Monday, July 14, 2008

Favre speaks!

As noted in an earlier post, Brett spoke tonight on Fox's "On the Record with Greta Van Susteren."

You can view the video here.

Part Two will air Tuesday night. Same bat time. Same bat channel.

Brett finally speaks tonight

At long last, Brett Favre has spoken out. The venue is Fox's "On the Record with Greta Van Susteren" which will air at 9 p.m. Central time tonight.

There are two quotes from Brett that have been released by Fox:

"I am guilty of retiring early and there is a reason for that. And the major issue is 'Why did he retire?' and 'He asked for a release because he doesn't want to play in Green Bay.' That's not true. And I hope people are hearing this and saying 'OK, that clears it up'."

"Them moving on does not bother me. It doesn't. I totally understand that. By me retiring March 3rd I knew that could possibly happen. All I was saying is you know I'm thinking about playing again. The 'itch' has been used. That is the word that has been used if you want to say itch, or the fire is coming back, or whatever. If I'm going to play it's going to be 100% commitment.... And so if you move on, you tell me one thing, don't come back and tell the public,... just say it. 'You know, we've moved on and we'll work with Brett on whatever it is.' Don't make up a lot of stuff or give half of the truth."

Hmmm...so, the question is what he's talking about when he says, "Don't make up a lot of stuff or give half of the truth." Hopefully, the interview will shed some more light on that statement.

Also, perhaps he'll finally say whether or not he has written the required letter to the NFL Commissioner officially requesting reinstatement. If not, then...what? Then, Brett, nothing is cleared up.

Please...please...are you in or are you out? Make up your mind.

You can read a brief tidbit about this on Van Susteren's page. Tune in.

Will Winters be left in the cold by Brett?

One of the many intriguing subplots of this whole Favre-will-he-won't-he mess is this coming Saturday night's Packers Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony. Certainly, Brett will have his own induction one day, not only in the Packers Hall of Fame but the NFL's as well, of course. But this weekend's ceremony will see the induction of Al Treml, the Packers' video director from 1967 to 2001, Gilbert Brown, "The Gravedigger" ('nuff said), and Frank Winters, center extraordinaire for 11 years with the Pack. Bart Starr is presenting Treml, Santana Dotson is presenting Gilbert, and -- get ready for it! -- Brett Favre is presenting Frank Winters. Or at least was scheduled to present Frank Winters. As of the time of this blog post, there's no report one way or the other whether Brett will in fact show up to present his old center for induction.

It is a sad note to what should be a real moment in the sun for these inductees that the spotlight will likely not be on them as it should be this weekend, but will instead be on Brett and his drama. If Brett shows up, the story will be about him. If Brett doesn't show up, the story will be about him.

Treml, Gilbert and Winters deserve their honors and they deserve the focus to be on them. Let's hope that the Favre situation somehow moves to a resolution this week so that the new Packers Hall of Famers get their due.

For more on the Packers Hall of Fame Induction, click here.

Jolly Busted
Overlooked for the most part this last week was the news that defensive lineman Johnny Jolly was busted in Houston July 8 on felony charges of possessing at least 200 grams of codeine. According to the Houston Chronicle report, Jolly is scheduled to appear in court on July 22.

Jolly was lost for most of last season with a rotator cuff injury and was being counted on this season to take up some of the slack in the loss of Corey Williams to the Browns. Now? Maybe not. According to reports, he could be suspended by the NFL just for the arrest alone. Not good.

The Packers released this statement on the matter: "The Packers are aware of the report involving Johnny Jolly. This is a legal matter and we still are in the process of gathering information. We have no further comment at this time."

You can read the Houston Chronicle story here.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Nearly 200 show up for Favre rally

As noted in a post yesterday, a couple of Favre fans were calling for a rally today at Lambeau in support of Brett. According to an AP wire report on SI.com, about 200 people showed up. According to the article, the organizers "plan to hold another (rally) Monday night in the Milwaukee area and then every Sunday until the team reinstates Favre."

Of course, what these folks apparently don't realize -- or at least don't seem to care to acknowledge -- is that it is not the team's job to "reinstate" Brett. That's the NFL Commissioner's job. But only after he receives a letter from Brett saying that's what he wants...which, to this point in time, hasn't happened.

Maybe these guys should travel to Hattiesburg and hold a rally outside Brett's place and chant, "Write the letter!" "Write the letter!" Since that's what has to be done first...yeah, you're right...just much easier to ignore the facts...what the heck was I thinking?

You can read the entire article here.

More on - what else? -- Favre

The saga continues. Whether the legend -- the legend of Brett Favre superhero -- continues, is now seemingly up to Brett.

No matter on which side fans line up -- want Brett back as starter or back the Pack regardless of Brett's status -- the fact of the matter is this: it's now up to Brett to state publicly what so far only his surrogates and/or media have stated. Does he want to play again? If so, hold a press conference -- which will be more highly attended and followed than a Mideast peace conference -- and say so. And perhaps even read the mandatory letter you must write to the NFL Commissioner requesting reinstatement. That will make it official. And that will also officially add you back to the Packers roster.

Until that happens, or at least the part about Brett writing a letter to the Commissioner requesting reinstatement, he or anyone blaming the Packers for not wanting Brett back is a bit like putting the cart before the horse. He says he wants to come back to play. Great! Then just write the dang letter! Then the ball is back in the Packers court, where it has unfairly been placed already. But until then, the next move is yours, Brett.

It must be said that as much as the majority of Packer fans would welcome Brett back at the helm, many are also getting tired of this cat-and-mouse game he has been playing with retirement the last several years. The Packers extended him plenty of leeway over these years, even allowing him to take as long as just before the draft a couple years ago, to make his decision. This year, he said in a tearful press conference in March, that he was done. As the Packers view of the timeline indicates, they did make overtures to Brett to come back when they got word he might be interested in doing so. He said no, he was sticking with his decision. Now, he's changed his mind -- again -- and wants to come back. Oh, but he also wants to be released because he doesn't feel he's been treated right by the organization. Puh-leze.

The Packers have gone out of their way for several years to accommodate a vacillating Brett Favre. When this same Brett Favre told the Pack he was done, the organization moved on. And now, at the 11th hour, when you change your mind -- again! -- the entire scheme the Packers have put in place all Spring around a new QB is supposed to be set aside. Were the Packers supposed to simultaneously have two plans in place? One if -- if -- Brett decided to come back and another if he didn't? That's not practical. It's not professional. And it's not fair to the organization.

If Brett wants to be reinstated, Ted Thompson and Mike McCarthy indicated that that would be fine. He'll be added back to the Packers roster. But he won't be released. Nor should he be. He could very well wind up being inserted back into the starting QB role. But that's not a given. Perhaps nominal starter Aaron Rodgers flops. Or, as has been Rodgers' history, gets hurt, Brett can step back in. Perhaps Brett so dominates training camp and the preseason games that Coach McCarthy has no choice but to make him the opening day starter. Great!

But...but...it's all up to you now, Brett. Do something. Make a decision. Notify the Commissioner. And get ready for your new role as back up until or if something should change that. That's the place you put yourself in. You have earned a lot of perks and privileges over the years. But there's one thing no one player should ever expect, legend or not: to be bigger than the organization. When that happens, the organization is done. That may happen at other places. But it won't happen in Green Bay. Nor should it.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Rally at Lambeau Sunday for Favre

A pair of brothers from Wisconsin (of course), and die hard fans of Brett (of course), created a website overnight and are trying to get the word out that there will be rally in support of Brett at Lambeau Field on Sunday, July 13, beginning at noon. So if you happen to be in the area...or want to be in the area to show your support...that's the place to be Sunday. Also, be sure to bring a can of food as the organizers are also having a food drive to help area flood victims. For more info, go here.

Thompson says Favre can be back up

In a half-hour interview today regarding the Brett Favre mess, Packers GM Ted Thompson said, "This is a very difficult spot we're in. It's a very volatile situation and we don't have all the answers yet." According to Thompson, the Packers never said Brett couldn't return to the Packers. But he also made it clear that -- based upon Brett's retirement announcement in March -- the Packers moved on. "Aaron Rodgers is our starting quarterback," Thompson told reporters. He declined answering which QB would give the Pack the best chance to reach the Super Bowl.

Thompson gave a timeline of events that make it clear that both he and McCarthy had indicated to Brett early after his retirement announcement that he would be welcomed back. After getting word in late March from former center, current offensive line coach and good friend of Brett, James Campen, that Brett was having some strong feelings about coming back, Thompson and McCarthy sent a message to Favre that he was welcome back. Further, that Thompson and McCarthy would fly down to Brett's home in Mississippi to finalize plans for his return. But, according to Thompson, Brett called back just a few days later and told him he and his wife Deanna had decided to stick with their original decision on retirement. Thompson went on to say that he did visit Brett at his home in Mississippi in April and Brett did not ask him whether he could return to play for the Packers at that time.

Thompson acknowledged the emotional turmoil everyone is in. "There are people out there who I know are anxious and mad and nervous and all those things. I want people to know that we know that. We're going through the same things. It's gut-wrenching when you think about it. We're struggling to do the right thing. We don't have all the answers."

According to other reports, Thompson also said he has not received any official notice from the league that Brett has asked to be reinstated. He also said he has not received any trade inquiries, but made it clear that trading Brett was an option that at least at this time was not under consideration while a return to the roster would be.

For more of this interview, click here.

Audio clips re: the Favre situation

The airwaves have been abuzz all week -- and especially yesterday -- re: Brett Favre's desire to un-retire and, since he believes he's not sensing any love from the Packers organization, to be released unconditionally.

For a few of the better audio clips on the subject, see the links below from the Packers flagship radio station, 620WTMJ in Milwaukee, and its sister TV station, WTMJ4.

WTMJ sports director Lance Allen speaks with Brett's brother, Scott, here.

Former Packer linebacker Brian Noble shares his views here.

The inimitable LeRoy Butler always has a few words to say.

Former fullback William Henderson shares his thoughts here.

And while this one isn't an audio clip it still speaks loud and clear. Al Jones, a buddy of Brett's with the Biloxi Sun-Herald, penned his commentary yesterday. He lays all the blame -- fairly or not -- for the current situation squarely in Ted Thompson's lap. You can read his opinion here.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Statement from the Packers on Favre

From the Packers public relations office:

"The Green Bay Packers are aware of the latest developments regarding Brett Favre

"Brett earned and exercised the right to retire on his terms. We wanted him to return and welcomed him back on more than one occasion.

"Brett’s press conference and subsequent conversations in the following weeks illustrated his commitment to retirement.

"The finality of his decision to retire was accepted by the organization. At that point, the Green Bay Packers made the commitment to move forward with our football team.

"As a retired player, Brett has the option to apply for reinstatement with Commissioner Goodell. If that were to occur, he would become an active member of the Green Bay Packers. As always, the Packers will do what’s right and in the best interest of the team.

"As with all Packers greats, Brett’s legacy will always be celebrated by our fans and the organization, regardless of any change in his personal intentions.

"Brett and Deanna will always be a part of the Packers family."

Favre wants out of Green Bay

From ESPN.com


Favre seeks unconditional release from Packers, sources say

HATTIESBURG, Miss -- Three days after a conference call with Green Bay Packers team officials on Tuesday in which quarterback Brett Favre emphatically expressed his desire to play in 2008, Favre on Friday formally asked for his contractual release from the Packers in a letter, sources close to Favre and the team said.

The letter was sent by Favre's agent, James "Bus" Cook, via overnight mail on Thursday and arrived at the Packers facility Friday morning.


Cook, on behalf of Favre, expressed a desire to have an amicable parting, as the Packers have been reluctant to embrace his return. Favre announced his retirement in early March.

During a conference call on Tuesday that included Packers general manager Ted Thompson, Packers coach Mike McCarthy, Favre and Cook, sources say that the quarterback stated emphatically that he wanted to play again.

Favre was reminded by the Packers' brass that it was in March when the quarterback said publicly and privately that he wasn't 100 percent committed to football, sources said. Favre acknowledged his state of mind at the time, but added that he never felt he was a 100 percent committed in March of previous years, either. Favre felt he had to make a decision to retire because the Packers were pressing him for an answer, a source said.

During the same conference call on Tuesday, neither Thompson nor McCarthy were openly receptive or enthused about Favre's desire to un-retire, the sources said, prompting Favre to direct Cook to request his release from the Packers. Favre has three years remaining on his contract for a total of $39 million. He currently is on the reserve-retired list.

Favre wants a mutual parting rather than having to force the Packers' hand by writing a letter to request his reinstatement to the active 80-man roster. Under league policy, the team would have to comply or release him.

Cook's letter did suggest that Favre's accomplishments for the franchise merited the team honoring his request to be released, also asking that the action be taken "with no strings attached." Favre does not want to be traded, sources said, because he wants the freedom of choice to play for any other franchise.

Favre has been in communication with McCarthy during the past month about his desire to play but until this week had not spoken with Thompson.

Neither Thompson nor McCarthy were available for comment on Friday.

Favre did not wish to speak publicly about his situation when approached while working out Friday morning at a local high school in Hattiesburg. He appeared to be in excellent physical condition and threw the ball with ease, even throwing a football 50 yards "on a rope" with high school receivers. He has been throwing and running with the team for more than a month.

Favre was relaxed and in a positive frame of mind, joking and telling stories about himself, former teammates and coaches. He planned to continue working out next week.

Chris Mortensen covers the NFL for ESPN.

What does this mean to us fans ? Why would the Packers not want Farve to return to Green Bay for another season... Instead will Farve go to The Bears ? The Bucks ? The Vikings ? Oh man, this spells disaster!

Breaking news: Favre asks Pack for unconditional release

Chris Mortensen of ESPN is reporting that Brett Favre has sent a letter to the Packers asking for his unconditional release. In an article at ESPN.com, Mortensen says, "Three days after a conference call with Green Bay Packers team officials on Tuesday in which quarterback Brett Favre emphatically expressed his desire to play in 2008, Favre on Friday formally asked for his contractual release from the Packers in a letter, sources close to Favre and the team said." It gets worse. The letter to the Packers from Brett's agent, James "Bus" Cook, asked that the release be made "with no strings attached." According to Mortensen's sources, Brett doesn't want to be traded because he wants the freedom of choice to play for any other franchise.

Oh boy. Can the nightmare get any worse? I guess the Pack could oblige the request and let Brett go. Certainly, all the signals the Packers have sent have basically said that they've moved on. That apparently was the gist of the conference call, as well. So, Brett's saying, OK, if you've moved on let me move on, too. Yikes!

Former NFL great Steve Young commented on ESPN's NFL Live show that there's "no way the Packers can release him because he could go and play for the Bears." Asking for his release is, in Young's words, Brett's way of "sticking it" to the Packers as a bit of a payback for what he feels has been a less-than-nice way the Pack has treated him over the last year or two. Young stated that he believes Brett is looking at this in terms of a very short-term perspective, that he feels he can play another year or two and his legacy as the QB of the Packers will always be there. (While true, this situation may leave a bit of a bad taste in some fans mouths, to say the least.)

Young went on to say that this whole situation places Aaron Rodgers in a very tough situation, even more so than before. On the other hand, some of the other commentators noted that one of the biggest votes of confidence Rodgers could have is the commitment that the Packers are showing to him now, especially if they do trade or release Brett. Trading Brett, they stated, might be problematic for the Pack because of the remaining contract he has left (three years and $39 million). They also reiterated that Brett is responsible for the situation, he announced his retirement and the Packers moved on accordingly. "There is no exit strategy for a legend to leave the game," former NFL receiver Chris Carter added.

So, for which teams might Brett be a good fit? According to the NFL Live crew, Washington and Tampa Bay would be a good fit because of the system. Of course, the ViQueens name came up...the horror...the horror. As Peter King stated in his SI column of earlier in the week, there is no way that the Packers would trade Brett to play with any other team in the division. An outright contractual release could make that a possibility.

But would the Pack actually release Brett and not get anything in return for him? I can't imagine that. Of course, I could never have imagined this current scenario coming about either. And I have to agree with the NFL Live bunch: this is Brett's doing. Attempts by him, his agent or others to pin the situation on Ted Thompson -- and admittedly without knowing all the behind-the-scenes stuff that has gone on -- seems like spitting into the wind and then blaming the wind for blowing it back in your face.

Packer fans, we have indeed entered the bizarro world and for now there seems to be no way out. Keep that seatbelt buckled up.

You can read Mortensen's entire article here.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Get free shipping on your Packer Fans United gear & gifts!

...And now for something completely different: a brief commercial plug for our Packer Fans United gift shop. You'll find the link in the righthand column under our "Welcome". Or you can just click here.

From today, July 8, through 11:59 p.m. on July 20 you can receive FREE shipping on all order over $65. All you have to do is enter the promotional code "FREESUMMER" (without the quotes) at checkout. That's it.

So, stock up on tastefully cool apparel and gifts for the upcoming season: hats, shirts, mugs, clocks...all sorts of goodies. And if you spend $65 or more, the shipping is FREE! That's a deal that's pretty hard to beat, Packer fans. Heck, that might even be a good enough excuse to do some early Christmas shopping.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled PackerFansUnited.com blog...

Ron Wolf returning to Green Bay

Now don't get excited, all you Ted Thompson haters out there. Yes, former Packers GM Ron Wolf is indeed returning to TitleTown (that would be the REAL TitleTown, not that bogus ESPN version, by the way). But not in any official capacity with the Packers. Wolf is returning to Green Bay because he and his wife, Edie, loved living there before, and want to do so again. Imagine that! Green Bay as a retirement destination. (Actually, for those who have spent any time living in the Green Bay area you also know why it's a great place to live.)

Here's how Wolf put it: "We both really loved Green Bay. How in the world could you not enjoy living in a place like that? We're excited about coming back."

The fact that Wolf's son, Eliot, is assistant director of pro personnel for the Packers probably factors in just a bit, too. And it's possible that Wolf's wife, Edie, could resume the private psychology practice she had when the couple was in GB the first time around. Of course, don't expect the Wolfs to be giving up their Jupiter, FL winter home. They'll only be selling their current home in Annapolis, MD, where they have lived since 2001.

Wolf said Thompson invites him to training camp for a couple days each year. This year, especially with the move back, you shouldn't be surprised to see Wolf among the railbirds.

You can read more here.

Simms to Favre: stay retired

Here's former QB and current commentator Phil Simm's advice to Brett Favre: stay retired. That is much different than the advice Simms offered Brett two years ago when he told him to play as long as he could because retirement is forever.

Simms, Cris Collinsworth and James Brown were announced yesterday as the new “Inside the NFL” panel for the coming season on Showtime. When asked by reporters during a conference call about the Favre situation, Simms -- as he usually does -- didn't hold back: "Just my opinion, I hope he stays retired. He’ll get over it, the fact that he is not playing. For the Green Bay Packers, I think they have moved on. If they had to give you an answer since he said he was retired, I believe their answer would be, go ahead let him stay retired. We’re moving on and let’s see what’s in the future for them and for the new quarterback." Simms continued, “When you have played in the NFL for as long as Brett Favre has, there is always going to be an issue about coming back. I can only relate it to most players I have talked to once they have retired. It takes about three years to get it out of your system. You forget about all the hard work, the bad times. And as you get away from the game, all you do is think about the good times. You forget how tough it is. Sometimes guys come back and they go ‘I wish I hadn’t come back.’ ”

For the comments of note from Collinsworth and Brown, check out this brief report.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Can you say "nightmare"?

Apparently, Sports Illustrated's Peter King can. In fact, that word formed part of his column title this morning. "Nightmare in Green Bay," to be exact. To what, pray tell, is he referring? What else but the Favre-coming-out-of-retirement situation. King is supposedly somewhat close to Brett. Whether that's gotten him any inside info or not is not clear. Still, he posits some interesting scenarios. None of them particularly good if you're the Packers.

King says, for example, "I fully expect Favre's agent to send a letter to the Packers within the next 10 days, stating that Favre, 38, wants to be taken off the National Football League's reserve/retired list." Oh boy. In fact, as King and other media are reporting today, in a recent phone conversation with head coach Mike McCarthy Brett told him he wanted to return. McCarthy, according to some of these same reports, told Brett that he was really putting the Packers in a difficult situation. Ya think?

Brett also reportedly sent a text message on Saturday to GM Ted Thompson who pretty matter of factly -- and perhaps tellingly -- responded that he was on vacation and they'd talk when he got back.

None of this good, as everyone knows. King points out that Brett is really making a mess of things for the Packers, for Aaron Rodgers, and for his own legacy. He basically points out that Brett seems to be pretty clueless about all this. King writes, "The one thing I don't believe Favre understands yet is the tumult which will greet his return to the Packers, or to another NFL team. There are Packer fans who have moved on, and wish he would do the same. He doesn't realize fully -- yet -- that Brett Favre returning to the Packers would bug a slew of Packerphiles who wish he'd make a decision and stick with it and ride off into the sunset with his glory intact. Because he insulates himself from much of the football world in Mississippi, I'm sure he doesn't realize the impact that playing for another team would have on his bleed-Packer-green fandom."

Playing for another team, via a trade, is indeed one of the scenarios being discussed, if the Pack can't talk Brett into staying retired (isn't it surreal to even have to be uttering words such as these? when did we enter the bizarro world?). But who would he want to go, and who would the Pack let him go to? Clearly, at this stage of his career, Brett would want and need to be in a West Coast-style offense and one that has a chance to win it all. That limits the teams considerably. One of the possibilities is Minnesota. Dallas has been rumored. So has Miami, although they are pretty far away from making a run for it. King speculates that a trade would be best for all concerned if Brett insists on playing. But you can bet the farm that the Pack would never do a trade within the division, and will clearly let Brett and his agent know that up front.

None of this good. It is indeed becoming a nightmare. And the sad part is Brett doesn't seem to realize that he's the one responsible. King goes on record as saying that all the buzz coming out of Brett's camp about his being forced out, not treated right, etc. is a bunch of hooey. It was Brett's decision to retire. He's been doing this dance for the last several years. But he pulled the trigger.

You can't blame a guy for still having "the itch" to play, especially if that guy is a legend and can still play. But you can blame a guy for jerking around an entire franchise that took you at your word that you were retired and then moved on. It is unrealistic to announce a few weeks before training camp that you want back in to that same team and expect everyone to step aside to accommodate you. You would never have expected Brett to be a prima donna. But that's what he's fast becoming. It is sad. Very sad.

You can read King's entire article here. For almost the exact opposite take on the situation, check out this article by Gene Wojciechowski, senior national columnist for ESPN.com.

For a couple very good local analyses of the situation, check out these two recent articles from the Green Bay Press-Gazette by clicking here and here.

Vote in our poll

Here's your chance to have your say as to what the Packers should do if Brett wants to "un-retire": vote in our online poll. You'll find it in the righthand column just under our PackerFansUnited.com store link. The poll will be open until midnight on Friday, July 18. What say you???

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Packers "breakout players" are...

In a brief break from the Favre-comeback-feeding-frenzy, let's acknowledge this rating from the CBS Sportsline: it expects three Packers to be among the top 30 breakout players in the NFL this year. It includes LB A.J. Hawk, DT Johnny Jolly, and RB Brandon Jackson among its list.

Hawk, in his third year, is due for a step up. He has performed solidly in his first two seasons with the Pack, but given the surrounding talent -- and perhaps an increased blitz package this season -- Hawk could indeed have a big year. Johnny Jolly was starting to make his mark last year before tearing his rotator cuff and being lost for the season. The Packers are counting on him to take over for the departed Corey Williams. Jolly's got a big motor and can definitely be an impact player. Brandon Jackson is an interesting mention, especially given the fact that Ryan Grant is the starting RB for the Pack. But coaches have always been high on Jackson, even though he did little until the final game or so last season. Perhaps it took him that long to start to get it all. If Jackson is able to pick up where he left off, and Grant can reprise the kind of performance that made him a surprise breakout player last season, the Packers could have as dynamic a running game as is expected in the receiving game.

Anyway, if you want to see the entire list and read the bits on the Packers players mentioned, click here.

And now, we return you to our regularly scheduled Favre-comeback-feeding-frenzy...

Today's online poll results (so far) at the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel:
Who will be the Packers' starting quarterback Sept. 8 vs. the Vikings?

Aaron Rodgers (57.0%)
Brett Favre (40.9%)
Someone else (2.1%)

Total votes: 3,197

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Brett says, "It's all rumor"

Responding to reports that he's itching to come out of retirement, Brett Favre text messaged Biloxi SunHerald reporter and friend, Al Jones (not mentioned in the article, but confirmed personally during an on-air interview with 620WTMJ radio's Bill Michaels this evening), saying, "It's all rumor." You can read more about Brett's denial of this ESPN story here.

You can hear Bill Michael's radio interview with Al Jones here. Jones also mentions several times in varying ways how the current situation is all the fault of Packers GM Ted Thompson. If you want to hear what the Voice of the Packers, game announcer Wayne Larrivee, has to say about that assertion and related matters, click here.

Stay tuned for more...training camp is only a few weeks away.

Favre getting itchy, according to ESPN

On the heels of heir apparent QB Aaron Rodger's unartful comments in Sports Illustrated about fans getting on board with him, now this: "ESPN reported this afternoon that retired Green Bay Packers quarterback Brett Favre is interested in making a comeback, and has communicated that interest with the team," according to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. ESPN reporter Chris Mortensen is the man behind the story and Mortensen is usually pretty much right-on in sniffing these stories out.

You can read the ESPN.com story here, and the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel article (including online fan poll) here.

How do fans feel about this? In the hour or so since this story broke, more than 5,000 fans have voted in the online poll at the Journal-Sentinel. Here are the results (you won't be surprised):

If Brett Favre is indeed interested in playing again for the Packers, should the team welcome him back?

Yes (62.7%)
No (37.3%)

Total votes: 5,206

ESPN is conducting their own online poll, asking essentially the same question, "Do you want Brett Favre to come back?". With over 9,000 votes at the time of this update, the percentages are basically reversed from the Journal-Sentinel poll: 65% do NOT want Brett to come back, while 35% DO.

What do you make of this discrepancy, Packer fans? Perhaps, that we ARE Packer fans!

Rodgers has a few words to say...and then says some more

In the new issue of Sports Illustrated due out today, there is an article about NFL QB's who follow legends. You know, like Aaron Rodgers following Brett Favre. The Rodgers' quote from the article that has spurred a bit of media and fan attention, however, is this: "I don't feel I need to sell myself to fans. They need to get on board now or keep their mouths shut."

Hmmm...that doesn't sound so...so...fan friendly, does it?

Well, apparently, our new starting QB is backpeddling as fast as he can on that comment. The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reached Rodgers by phone yesterday and Rodgers wasted little time apparently in clarifying his remarks. “I do care deeply about the fans and I think anybody who has been to training camp sees a lot of times I’m the last one out signing autographs. I care about the fans; I care about their opinions. Everybody wants the fans to care for them and to pull for them and I am no different. I think my record, as far as the time I spend with the fans, and more importantly the stuff I do in the community, kind of speaks for itself.”

As the article points out, Rodgers is one of the more involved Packers in terms of volunteering for community and charity events.

So, perhaps his comment was a bit indelicately put, shall we say. Rodgers seemed to understand that point. “The biggest disappointment in this whole thing is if anybody is offended, because I think that my track record pretty much speaks for itself in the way I feel about the fans,” Rodgers reiterated, according to the article.

Rodgers has a big enough challenge in winning over the fans. As the SI article points out -- and as everyone already knows -- following a legend ain't no picnic. Just take a look at who SI dubbed the "We Followed Legends Club": Jay Fiedler (Dan Marino), Marty Domres (Johnny Unitas), Richard Todd (Joe Namath), Brian Griese (John Elway) and Cliff Stoudt (Terry Bradshaw). There was also that Steve Young guy who did pretty well following Joe Montana. That's the club we hope Rodgers is able to join.

If you want to read more of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel article, click here.