ESPN.com has started blogs for each of the NFL’s divisions. The reporter covering the NFC North is Kevin Seifert, who covered the Minnesota for eight years. And if his entry last night about how the Packers and Brett Favre is any indication, Packer fans are going to want to avoid his site if they’re looking for insight and analysis that reflects reality. It was the lead NFL story on ESPN.com overnight.
Like it or not, Brett Favre will never appear in a Packers uniform again. It wasn’t hard to distinguish that point from McCarthy’s nearly half-hour news conference here Tuesday.
Favre is part of the team’s 80-man roster and could remain there for a while as team officials consider trade possibilities. But Tuesday, the team finally reached the most important crossroads in this long-simmering dispute: Faced with forcing a conflicted quarterback into an awkward situation, a scenario that threatened team chemistry and guaranteed a debilitating distraction, the Packers determined Favre is best suited on another team’s roster if he insists on playing in 2008.
The Packers wasted several months before reaching that milestone and ultimately were unable to successfully “sit” on the situation….When Favre followed through on his threat to report to training camp, McCarthy chose to protect team chemistry. And as result, the worst of the storm has passed.
Kevin Seifert must have been sleeping through July. That much wasn’t hard to “distinguish” from his ignorant post. Seifert tells us that it was the Packers — not Brett Favre — who made the final determination on Favre’s status with the team. The problem is that Mike McCarthy, perhaps the most believable figure in this entire episode, and Brett Favre, have both said the opposite. Maybe Seifert should read his own website. Favre told ESPN yesterday that McCarthy had, in effect, offered him the opportunity to compete.
“Mike told me, hey, we’re a better team with you on it but wanted to know if I have a problem with an open competition,” Favre said. “I don’t have a problem with competing — you know that, but Aaron should be the starter right now because he’s been out here all this time. This is more than about an open competition and I can do that, absolutely, but this is going to be mass confusion and that’s not good for this team.
McCarthy says that the conversation never got to that point, but certainly hinted that he was open to a competition. McCarthy went into the meeting to determine whether Favre wanted to play for the Packers. Favre made it clear that he does not.
My whole intent was, ‘was he coming into the locker room to play for the Green Bay Packers, and where is your mind at?’ That was the first question I asked him, and we could never get back to that point where he was comfortable.
the one thing that I was looking for out of that conversation was he ready and committed to play football for the Green Bay Packers? And his answer frankly throughout the conversation was his mindset, based on the things that happened throughout this whole course, that’s not where he was. So with that, we didn’t really move ahead…But once again, his feeling was, I don’t want to speak for him, but based on where he is, the path that it took to get to this part, he wasn’t in the right mindset to play here.
Still more McCarthy, on whether Favre would have been able to compete for the starting job, as Favre said this morning that McCarthy had promised:
That was something that we would have talked about if he would have got to the right mindset. He’s a football player, OK? I’m not doing the PR thing anymore. I’m coaching the football team. The football team has moved forward, OK? The train has left the station, whatever analogy you want. He needs to jump on the train and let’s go, or if we can’t get past all of the things that have happened, I need to keep the train moving, and he respects that. He understands that.
So we learned two important things yesterday. Brett Favre told us that McCarthy had, in effect, offered him the opportunity to compete to win the starting job and that Favre rejected that offer. And second, we learned that Favre made the decision that he would not play again in Green Bay, not the Packers.
Favre had said for a month that he wanted to return to the Packers. Turns out he didn’t or, giving him the benefit of the doubt, he wanted to at one point but is so embittered by the back-and-forth with the team that he no longer wants to. The Packers flip-flopped, too, since they had originally said the team was moving forward without Favre and, over the past couple of days, said that Favre could jump on that moving train and compete for a starting job.
He didn’t want to. That’s the big story here. How someone who covers this stuff full-time for the world’s premiere sports news organization could miss it is beyond me.