NFL: A Favre-Packer reunion looking bleak
By Chris Jenkins
GREEN BAY, Wis. ó Fans chanting iBring Back Brett!î distracted them during practice on Tuesday. Well before that, the constant media questions were wearing thin on them.
Green Bay Packers players have had it up to here with the Brett Favre saga. And as Favre Fatigue sets in, theyíre sending a clear message to the teamís front office:
Solve it. Now.
iItís time for it to be over,î cornerback Charles Woodson said. iItís gone on long enough.î
As the leagueís longest-running daytime drama continues to twist and turn, Woodson and other veteran Packers players arenít publicly assessing blame or taking sides. They just donít want to talk or think about it any more.
iFor them to keep us in the dark and just have us answering a bunch of questions that we canít possibly have a good answer for, I donít think itís fair to us,î Woodson said. iI think there needs to be something said, yea or nay for Brett Favre.î
That answer ó a resounding inayî ó came Tuesday evening, when Packers coach Mike McCarthy told reporters that after extensive conversations with Favre over the past two days, he has determined that Favre doesnít have the right mindset to play for the Packers.
Still, the issue will linger until there is a final resolution. That most likely would be a trade, perhaps to Tampa Bay, something that appeared to be simmering but not imminent as of late Tuesday evening.
So the questions kept coming, and the players kept sighing.
iItís to the point now, man, weíre tired of it here in the locker room, just hearing about it,î cornerback Al Harris said. iHopefully they get something done upstairs and they can answer these questions instead of the questions coming to us.î
McCarthy has praised his playersí ability to stay focused throughout the teamís showdown with Favre, but acknowledged Tuesday that it could take a toll on the team.
iWe have an excellent opportunity here to be a very good football team in 2008,î McCarthy said. iWeíve had an extraordinary challenge dealing with this situation, a lot can be learned from it, but they definitely want this thing resolved as soon as possible.î
Wide receiver Greg Jennings admitted the zoo-like atmosphere at practice ó with fans chanting for Favre and against general manager Ted Thompson ó was a distraction.
Just like everything else in this ugly, omnipresent mess.
iWhen itís in your face, like this, how do you avoid it? How do you not allow it to be in the back of your head? You canít,î Jennings said. iYouíre thinking about it. Everybodyís in here thinking about it, and we just donít know what the next moveís going to be.î
The next move might not be apparent, but itís clear that bond between Favre and the Packers appears to be broken beyond repair.
After approximately six hours of what McCarthy called ibrutally honestî conversations with Favre over the past two days, McCarthy said Favre couldnít seem to get past emotional wounds that were opened as tensions mounted in recent weeks ó even with the chance to win his starting job back potentially on the table.
iThe train has left the station, whatever analogy you want,î McCarthy said. iHe needs to jump on the train and letís go. Or, if we canít get past things that have happened, I have to keep the train moving.î
Favre left Lambeau Field just before Packers practice Tuesday afternoon, taking a right turn out of the stadiumís back gate and heading away from the practice field. Shortly after, an SUV driven by Packers general manager Ted Thompson left the gate heading in the same direction.
iWeíre at a stalemate,î Favre told ESPN Tuesday morning.
Favre told ESPN he doesnít have a problem with competing with Aaron Rodgers for the starting job, and can itruly understandî why McCarthy would make Rodgers the starter. But Favre also said a competition iprobably isnít going to workî and that ithe problem is that thereís been a lot of damage done and I canít forget it.î
Did Favre not feel wanted or welcome enough by the Packers?
iThatís part of the issue with him, quite frankly,î McCarthy said. iAnd listening to him talk about that, you respect his opinion. And frankly, I told him, I said, íIíll take responsibility because I have a voice in the building.í I never thought he truly was going to play. I thought he was emotionally driven for other reasons.î
Favre finally has convinced McCarthy he wants to play. But McCarthy still seems to have reservations about Favreís commitment to preparing for games. And McCarthy didnít seem convinced that Favre was thinking clearly about his future.
iHe has a lot going through his head, and I think heís emotional,î McCarthy said. iAnd just talking to him, heís in a tough spot.î
So, of course, are McCarthy and Thompson. Correctly or not, they might end up being seen by fans as the men who drove Favre out of Green Bay.
iThatís not a good feeling, but I donít view it that way,î McCarthy said. iI can only trust the truth. Iíve been part of a lot of conversations, and I donít feel thatís the case.î