Allen clears the air, sort of

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers worked to mend fences with their starting quarterback, Jeff Garcia, even as GM Bruce Allen tried to explain the team's interest in Brett Favre.

Following the failed attempt to trade for Brett Favre, it's time for the Bucs to make up with starting quarterback Jeff Garcia.

Coach Jon Gruden makes no apologies for going after the iconic Favre, but he also spent much of last week praising how Garcia has handled the situation.

"It's a (Catch) 22 situation in my opinion," Gruden said. "If you don't look into it, if you don't survey the situation for yourself, you really don't get all the information, all you get are reports. But I had a chance to talk to Brett a couple times, talked to his wife. We want to win games.

"We need to get Jeff healthy and out on our practice field, that's an understatement. But I feel good about 'A,' being involved in this, knowing exactly what happened and 'B,' I feel good about our quarterbacks as I said at the opening of training camp. I hope at the end of the day, if there are some feelings hurt, hopefully we can get over that and move on. We've got work to do."

The Bucs spent much of last week trying to provide a post-mortem of their failed attempts to trade for Favre, the three-time MVP whose 16-year career ended in Green Bay when he was dealt to the New York Jets on Aug. 6.

At precisely the same time Favre was being introduced at a news conference in Cleveland, where the Jets were playing the Browns in a preseason game, general manager Bruce Allen carefully outlined the Bucs' somewhat limited efforts to acquire Favre.

It was the second attempt by Allen to clear the air. His first news conference Wednesday morning provided as many questions as answers under the glare of television lights.

"We were receptive to hearing what they wanted to do," Allen said of the Packers. "I'm not going to say I wasn't interested in Brett Favre. Yes, I was interested ... The big question, and I'm not going to play the hypothetical game myself, what if there wasn't an AFC team that was available? Now what? That changes the dynamics. But I don't want to start to get into it."

Among the details Allen provided:

-- He said the Packers would never share with the Bucs what they wanted in terms of compensation for Favre. From the start, Allen felt it was clear Green Bay's intention was to trade Favre to an AFC team. The Packers did not give the Bucs a chance to match the Jets' offer. Allen said he did not learn of the details of that pact until they surfaced in media reports. Favre was traded to the Jets for a conditional fourth round pick that could become a first rounder if Favre is responsible for leading the team to the Super Bowl.

"We never got a specific answer what they wanted," Allen said. "It appears they did what they wanted to do if they were going to have a divorce with Brett, that was to send him to an AFC team."

--Allen said he had doubts whether he would have been willing to match the Jets' deal. Curiously, he said the Bucs never made the Packers an offer for Favre.

--Regarding Garcia, Allen said he did not believe the Bucs' pursuit of Favre would affect Garcia's play or attitude. "I don't see this as a poor reflection on Jeff," Allen said. "This is a very unique human being we were talking about."

Garcia, 38, did not accompany the Bucs to Miami for the preseason opener against the Dolphins, staying behind to receive treatment for a right calf strain.

Even before the Bucs' pursuit of Favre, Garcia had been vocal about his disappointment over the team's failure to pay him a $1 million playing incentive be narrowly missed when the team elected to rest him late in the season.

Garcia already has missed eight days of training camp with his injury and an excused absence during the first weekend. At some point, he and Gruden will make peace and Garcia can take the controls of the team he led to the playoffs last season.

"There's not any air to clear," Gruden said. "This is not going to become an Oprah Winfrey special. It's an awkward thing. We're talking about a guy who's Brett Favre, one of the tremendous players of all-time."

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