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Area Sports Briefs: Thomas leads Catawba in baseball opener

By Chris Jenkins

Associated Press

GREEN BAY, Wis. — With subzero temperatures descending and a hated division rival playing in the Super Bowl, Green Bay Packers fans received an unexpected jolt of good news Friday.

Brett Favre is back.

Packers general manager Ted Thompson said the three-time MVP called him to say he was “going to give it another shot” and return for his 17th NFL season — thus bringing his now-annual flirtation with retirement to an end far earlier than he had in the previous two offseasons.

“I am so excited about coming back,” the 37-year-old quarterback said Friday on the Web site of the Sun Herald in Biloxi, Miss. “We have a good nucleus of young players. We were 8-8 last year, and that’s encouraging.”

Thompson said Favre didn’t give him a specific reason why he was returning, but Thompson figured it was a sign that he is happy with the direction the team is headed.

“In our conversations prior to the end of the season, I knew he was having a good time and he liked the team,” Thompson said.

Favre seemed to echo those comments to the Biloxi newspaper.

“My offensive line looks good, the defense played good down the stretch,” Favre said. “I’m excited about playing for a talented young football team.”

Thompson said he was in a meeting Friday morning when Favre called. Thompson said Favre did not give him a commitment beyond 2007, and might still have the offseason ankle surgery he skipped out on the day after the season ended.

Favre led many to believe he intended to retire when he became emotional during a television interview after the Packers beat the Chicago Bears in the regular-season finale — and then the rival Bears marched through the playoffs to earn a spot in Sunday’s Super Bowl.

Packers chairman and CEO Bob Harlan said he already is receiving faxes from “delighted” Packers fans around the country.

“I think this helps our fans a great deal,” Harlan said. “They could see the direction the team was going in last year, and with Brett coming back it’s even better.”

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said the news was great for the league.

“He’s obviously been an incredible performer for the NFL,” said Goodell, in Miami for the Super Bowl.

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