Packers notebook

Favre's new off-field venture; turf stitched up; Swede signs

Brett Favre is dabbling in off-the-field business opportunities these days, but that doesn't necessarily mean 2007 will be the swan song on the field for the celebrated quarterback.

Favre is a partner in a new fitness franchise exclusively for children called Young Champions. The venture is in collaboration with Kent Johnston, a former strength and conditioning coach for the Packers. Johnston founded Young Champions and is a co-owner of the operation.

The first Young Champions fitness center opened July 7 in Waco, Texas. Favre made an appearance at the facility.

Favre will act as a spokesman for the company, saying the business decisions will be in the hands of Johnston and other investors - "at least until I retire," the quarterback added.

Favre is preparing to return to Green Bay at the end of the month for training camp and his 17th NFL season, 16 with the Packers. The 37-year-old didn't let on during his visit to Waco that the upcoming season would be the finale.

"If I sit down and start dwelling on what I did in the past, it's time to retire. I let other people do that," Favre told reporters. "I'm well aware of what I've done in Green Bay and what I've been a part of, and I'm extremely proud. I'm still playing, and even if it's a year or if it's two years, I want to make the most of it and be a part of something else.

"I don't want to keep hanging on to the past, and right now, that's what I hear (that I'm doing) from a lot of people. Boy, that Super Bowl (victory in 1997) was great, but I want to chase it next year or the next two years and let the past speak for itself. It's been a great career up to this point. I'd like to make it a little better."

Hallowed turf gets stitches
The last phase of the makeover of Lambeau Field's legendary playing surface is under way. Crews have been using an automated machine to stitch newly laid natural grass with artificial fibers.

The revolutionary GrassMaster surface will save the field from the wear and tear that invariably cropped up in the latter part of the season, which forced the club to resod portions of it. The new field is expected to last at least 12 years.

The project, which started after last season ended, has to be completed before the Packers hold their intrasquad scrimmage Aug. 4.

Going back in time
The team is turning back the clock for one of its practices in the first week of training camp, which starts July 28. An evening workout has been moved from the Packers' practice facilities to Green Bay's City Stadium on Aug. 31.

The stadium was the Packers' home from 1925 to '56 before Lambeau Field opened. The facility has since been used by Green Bay East High School's football teams.

Swede signs with Packers
Linebacker Carl-Johan Bjork will join the Packers for training camp as one of 11 players allocated to teams for the NFL International Development Practice Squad Program.

The 6-foot, 247-pound Bjork is from Sweden. He also was part of the program last year, with Dallas.

Bjork will remain with the Packers throughout the season on the practice squad, though he won't count toward the team's eight-player limit. He will be able to play in preseason games and practice with the team until the end of the season.

Quote to note
"Physically, I feel OK. For me and my dilemma in trying to decide whether I wanted to come back or not, as much as I want to break it down and weigh this and weigh that, weigh the good and weigh the bad, it ultimately came down to one thing - that I still love to play. Do I love to practice? Not all the time. Do I love to prepare myself in the offseason the way I know I need to? Not all the time. But, up to this point, I've been able to do it."
-- Quarterback Brett Favre on his decision to return for a 17th NFL season, while making an appearance July 7 at an opening for a Waco, Texas, fitness center for which he is a partner.

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