On the NFL Network tonight, Adam Schefter reported that there was very little activity in the trade talks regarding Brett Favre and, contrary to the report in the Green Bay Press Gazette, there is no “bidding war” for his services. Schefter says that the Packers are waiting to hear from Tampa and New York about what they will give up for Favre and says that members of Favre’s family are trying to convince him to consider the offer from New York seriously. Favre is now reportedly leaning towards Tampa Bay, but the Jets remain in the picture.
Interestingly, though, Schefter made the same mistake ESPN.com’s Kevin Seifert made this morning when he claimed that the Packers never backed off of their refusal to allow Favre to compete for his job back. It’s a pretty basic error and one I’m surprised these guys continue to make considering we now have Favre (twice) and Mike McCarthy (once) saying that the Packers backed off of that hard line position. Favre told Chris Mortensen yesterday that the Packers suggested he could compete for the job and McCarthy said that he was open to that discussion but his talks with Favre never reached that point. Then today, after landing in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, Favre reiterated the point.
“They obviously had taken the stance that at some point in the offseason that they were going to move on, and that’s OK,” Favre said. “But they sort of changed that stance a little bit when I got back up there. We sort of figured that would happen.”
This isn’t a minor point. For as much as we can fault Ted Thompson for his arrogance and his intransigence, and as much as we can wring our hands about the way the Packers handled the public relations aspect of this entire issue, it is simply not the case that the Packers ended the discussions by forcing Favre out of Green Bay. He had an opportunity to compete for the job and he passed on it.
Some of us suspect he did so because his real desire, perhaps after some unknown slight (or perceived slight) from the Packers, was to play for the Vikings this year. Favre contends that this process soured him on the team and that he didn’t want to play where he obviously wasn’t wanted. Perhaps there is some truth to both of those claims. But it seems clear that if Favre had told Mike McCarthy that he wanted to be in Green Bay, that he was committed to the team this year and that he was interested in earning back his starting job — he could be a Packer right now.