Jones Sign Co. of De Pere is using six of its digital billboards in support of Brett Favre's return to the Packers. A few of those billboards are located along U.S. 41, which the Tailgate Tour bus rolled down while heading south to its final destination of Fond du Lac.
Along the way, the reminders — namely, green No. 4 jerseys — were everywhere.
New Packers President and CEO Mark Murphy and Chairman Emeritus Bob Harlan are two of the featured participants of the Tailgate Tour, which will continue today in Janesville. Both said they believe Favre will remain retired. Whether that's wishful thinking for an organization that is ready to move on after 16 seasons of Favre's greatness — and desperately wants to avoid the ugly ramifications of parting ways with the legend — remains to be seen.
Both Harlan and Murphy chalked up the Favre rumors to an antsy former player whose body is trained to get into football mode at this time of year. Murphy characterized Favre's possible change of heart as something "fairly typical" because the NFL is "such a special league."
"I know myself, I really felt I was prepared to make the transition away from football," said Murphy, who played eight seasons for the Washington Redskins. "It's a difficult transition, and I think Brett is going through a lot of those same things, feeling he can still play but knowing it's really hard to go through another season. Every player faces a lot those same feelings."
Time and again during stops in Kimberly, Little Chute and Fond du Lac, fans asked Murphy, Harlan and players Brandon Jackson, Jason Spitz and James Jones about Favre. None of them spoke in favor of Favre's comeback. Whether they were simply echoing the company line or giving a vote of confidence to Favre's in-limbo successor, Aaron Rodgers, is a mystery.
The comments by Murphy and Co. are the first made by the team since reports last week of Favre having an "itch" to return.
Both coach Mike McCarthy and general manager Ted Thompson have been out of town on vacation, though both were back in Green Bay on Tuesday, with McCarthy to present a donation to the Boys & Girls Club of Green Bay this morning. Neither have commented on the situation.
Milwaukee TV station WTMJ reported Monday night that Favre sent Thompson a text message on Saturday, wanting to talk. Thompson reportedly replied that the talk would have to wait until after his vacation. So, perhaps they talked Tuesday.
Meanwhile, at the same time McCarthy is making his presentation, Rodgers is expected to take part in a conference call this morning promoting this week's American Century celebrity golf tournament at Lake Tahoe. Assuming he doesn't back out, those will be his first comments on the saga that has gripped the sporting nation.