Coaching staff plays it safe with Favre

The Green Bay Packers will conduct their second off-season mini-camp, beginning Friday in Green Bay. Unlike the team's first mini-camp, quarterback Brett Favre will not be participating.

Packers head coach Mike McCarthy is taking a page out of predecessor Mike Sherman's off-season plan from a year ago, which, in hindsight, didn't go over well.

McCarthy has excused quarterback Brett Favre from attending the Packers' second off-season mini-camp, May 19-21, in Green Bay.

"Physically, he's in good shape. But I don't think it's real smart for him to push it to the limit physically," McCarthy said. "The biggest thing, we have to be smart with Brett. You want him here for the mental part of it. But, if you look at all of his practice reps and game reps (in previous years), you don't need to sit down and throw everything on the board today."

The 36-year-old Favre had limited participation in the first three-day mini-camp, May 5-7, less than two weeks after he informed the team that he would return for at least one more season. Favre backed off from a statement he made earlier in the off-season that if he were to play next season, it would be his last.

"I know I said that," he said during a news conference May 6. "But I hope you guys will respect me. I'm going to play this year, give it my best and not talk about (retirement).

"It's been a distraction not only for me but for, I think, the guys I played with in the past. And I'm not going to talk about it this year."

Though McCarthy is installing his variation of the West Coast offense in the two mini-camps, he's allowing Favre to not report back until the organized team activities get under way May 31. McCarthy said he'll have Favre take part in possibly 10 of the 14 sessions.

Sherman kept Favre out of all of the team's off-season workouts last year. For a number of reasons, Favre then had his worst season in 14 years as the Packers' starter. He had a league-high and franchise-record-tying 29 interceptions as Green Bay finished 4-12.

Favre indicated that he's not about to tone down his ambitious approach to throwing the football even with a new, quarterback-friendly head coach on board.

"I'm going to take chances," Favre said. "There's going to be people who agree with that, and there's going to be people who don't agree with it. And, I really don't care.

"My desire and my commitment is why I'm here. Not my footwork, not my mechanics, not arm strength or decision-making. It's my desire to win. I want to win more than anyone else. I'm willing to do whatever it takes, and sometimes, it's not pretty."

The absence of Favre at the next mini-camp will give heir apparent Aaron Rodgers more time to run the offense. McCarthy came away impressed with Rodgers during the first mini-camp.

A year ago, McCarthy, then the offensive coordinator for San Francisco, soured on Rodgers as the potential No. 1 overall pick in the draft for the 49ers, who selected fellow quarterback Alex Smith. Rodgers tumbled to the Packers' first-round spot at No. 24.

"(From) what I saw (of him) in college, I think he moves a lot better," McCarthy said of Rodgers following the first mini-camp. "He's a lot better athlete than I think people realize. He does a really good job in space.

"He has an excellent arm; he always has. I would just say his movement qualities are something I don't recall seeing a lot of in college."

Rodgers has been receiving individual attention from McCarthy during twice-a-week throwing sessions since the Packers' off-season program started March 20.

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