Aggressively patient

Thompson, McCarthy taking right steps with Favre, Walker

The actions (or non-actions) of the Packers two biggest star players are complicating this off-season in Green Bay.

Brett Favre is taking longer than anticipated to make a decision on whether to continue playing football and Javon Walker does not want to play in Green Bay anymore. What happens to both players in the near future will have a dramatic effect on the fortunes of the Packers in 2006.

The other two people who will have such an effect are general manager Ted Thompson and new head coach Mike McCarthy. Both are on the same page nearly four months into their tenure together, and both are handling the situations with Favre and Walker the right way.

Favre has been given the appropriate time to make a decision and now comments from Thompson and McCarthy at the NFL's owners meeting this week are sending more urgent signals.

Thompson told the Wisconsin State Journal that "it makes certain things a little difficult" in response to Favre's prolonged pondering. McCarthy, in the same article, said Favre's conclusion "needs to be real soon."

Both Packers' executives surely do not want to run Favre out of town, but their plan for the future is a solid one, and it is moving forward swiftly. They have given the three-time NFL MVP their time and patience and now they need him to act.

Favre, though, does not seem to be on the same page with Thompson and McCarthy. He should have indicated a strong feeling one way or the other by now. Such a long wait clearly indicates some doubt.

Favre is not above the team, though it sometimes seemed like it last year when he played poorly. Ex-Packers coach Mike Sherman stood by him game after game as the mistakes piled up. Sherman's reason was that Favre gave the Packers the best chance to win and that the mistakes would get corrected, but neither happened - even when the Packers were eliminated from playoff contention in November. Even though Favre showed he still had the tools to play, the results were not there.

Thompson and McCarthy are standing up to Favre, albeit in a small way, by their comments. At this point in his career, should he continue, Favre may need someone to stand up to him a little more than in recent years. Remember how Mike Holmgren treated Favre when the young quarterback was struggling? He stayed after him like a dictator, almost making Mark Brunell his starter, until Favre responded.

As for Walker, it does not appear the Packers will give in to his demands.

Unless Thompson is enticed by a first-round pick or some other sweet deal, his personality suggests that he will let Walker continue to vent and then watch him show up at training camp again to play out the remainder of his five-year rookie contract.

It was just over a year ago that Walker complained publicly, with agent Drew Rosenhaus, about his contract and then showed up in July. All seemed forgiven, and in a span of a couple days, his contract did not seem to matter. Last year, Walker used the media in an attempt to gain a quick financial advantage and strike while the iron was hot.

Walker may be trying to use the media again this year. This time, though, he is without Rosenhaus and instead has his step-father making comments that he wants out of Green Bay.

Only a face-to-face meeting between Thompson and Walker will determine Walker's future. They have not had that yet this off-season and have no scheduled appointment. Until that happens, expect Thompson to keep a lid on any Walker talk.

Creating a lasting legend in Green Bay, Favre's career in its waning years has become a difficult situation to address for anyone involved with the Packers. With such a promising future ahead, Walker's dislike for Green Bay and his contract makes things even more difficult. Thompson and McCarthy could be gripping about such matters, but instead they are staying aggressively patient – just what the Packers need.


Matt Tevsh

Editor's note: Matt Tevsh is a regular contributor to PackerReport.com and Packer Report. E-mail him at matttevsh@hotmail.com.


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