Packers notebook

Kids grill coach about Favre; Murphy says issue is 'delicate;' time of preseason game moved up

Forget about the $100,000 donation that the Green Bay Packers made to the Green Bay Boys & Girls Club. Sure, that was great and everything, but children onhand for Green Bay Packers head coach Mike McCarthy's presentation of the donation wanted to know what the Packer Nation has been talking about lately: Is Brett Favre returning to play football with the Packers?

McCarthy was asked that question by 11-year-old Miranda Black of nearby Oconto Falls the moment the coach opened the press conference up to questions from about 75 children in attendance.

McCarthy smiled and quickly responded, "I want to know which one of those media individuals made you say that," McCarthy said, referring to reporters standing in the back of the room. "Those are things we'll obviously, we'll get to down the line. But great question."

The kids continued to press McCarthy, including one wanted to know how good the Packers were going to be without Favre, according an Associated Press report.

"Well, we're going to be a good football team regardless of what happens," McCarthy said. "It's a football team that has worked very hard since the end of last season. The team has done a great job of improving. And we have a big training camp coming up and that's always a big part of our preparation, getting ready to go."

After McCarthy dodged a few more questions about Favre, one child asked the coach if he would sign their T-shirts.

"Sure," he joked. "It's better than answering these questions."

McCarthy's answers to the kids Wednesday remain the only public comments from the coach or general manager Ted Thompson since the latest round of reports and rumors of a potential Favre comeback surfaced last week.

The Boys & Girls Club of Green Bay, through its east- and west-side units, helps school-age youth make better choices and reach their full potential. Experts in youth development, the professionally-trained staff offers nationally-proven programs in a safe and accepting environment. The organization believes that all young people, regardless of background or circumstances, should be equipped to respect others and make our community a better place to live.

The donation by the Packers and McCarthy will assist in funding a new teen program endowment.

"We are thrilled to accept this contribution from Coach McCarthy and the Packers organization," said John Benberg, executive director of the Green Bay Boys & Girls Club of Green Bay. "When you serve the ‘whole child' like we do here — everything from technology to homework to self-esteem to employability — it takes horsepower and this contribution will help us kick things up a notch or two. Obviously a lot of our kids watch Packers games and root for the home team — but now there will be some who tell their friends and family that the Coach is helping them succeed in life — that is pretty cool."

Favre issue 'delicate,' Murphy says
As speculation grows over whether Favre will come out of retirement, Packers' president Mark Murphy said he doesn't think the quarterback will return.

"It's a very delicate situation, because (Favre) has such a special place in Packers history," Murphy told the Green Bay Press-Gazette on Tuesday.

"No player leaves the game gracefully. It's kind of the nature of what makes great players great, is they're competitors and they always want to compete and they want that next challenge, and it's hard to find that next thing that's going to give you that excitement and adrenaline. That's what we're seeing a little bit here."

Favre sobbed in his retirement news conference March 6, saying, "It's been a great career for me, and it's over." But the tears hardly had dried before reports and rumors surfaced that he was having second thoughts.

In early April, Thompson dismissed a report in the Los Angeles Times that Favre's representatives were exploring a comeback with another team.

Chairman Emeritus Bob Harlan also told the Press-Gazette: "What I remember about him is he was ready to retire, and that's how I feel today. I think down deep, that's exactly how he feels."

Later that month, after the Packers officially placed Favre on the reserve/retired list, Favre admitted he was having second thoughts.

"There are always second thoughts, but that's not saying I am coming back," he said. "It's never a clear-cut decision. It's something I can't expect everyone to understand."

Then Favre told the Gulfport (Miss.) Sun Herald that he'd be tempted to come out of retirement if Rodgers was injured.

The latest round of Favre speculation kicked off last week, when ESPN reported that Favre had told McCarthy he was feeling the "itch" to play again. But the Packers don't seem to be tripping over themselves to get Favre back in the fold, leading to speculation about rising tension between the quarterback and the team.

Favre hasn't spoken publicly about the latest reports, beyond telling the Sun Herald that the speculation is "all rumor" and that there was "no reason" for a media circus.

On Monday,'s Peter King wrote that Favre told McCarthy that he wants to return. King also said he expects Favre's agent, James "Bus" Cook, to send a letter to the Packers within the next 10 days stating that the former quarterback wants to be taken off the NFL's reserved/retired list.

If Favre is removed from the list, the Packers will have some decisions to make. According to King, Green Bay will either be able to put Favre back on their roster and welcome him back as the team's quarterback, or they could opt to trade or release the future Hall of Famer.

According to King, McCarthy allegedly told Favre in a phone conversation a couple of weeks ago that the quarterback would put the team in a tough position by coming out of retirement.

King wasn't the only one adding fuel to the Favre comeback rumors this week.

A Milwaukee television station reported that Favre sent a text message to Packers general manager Ted Thompson on Saturday. Thompson reportedly replied that he was on vacation and they would have to talk later.

Preseason game moved up one hour
The game time for the preseason finale between the Packers and the Tennessee Titans at Lambeau Field on Aug. 28, has been moved up one hour, to 6 p.m. CDT.

The Packers say the change is a result of both teams' TV partners approaching their respective clubs and expressing an interest in joining network coverage of the Democratic National Convention as close to 9 p.m. as possible.

"Mindful that Tennessee is designated as a Gold Package game, we went along with the change, feeling that it also was a benefit to our fans coming from southern Wisconsin. The 6 p.m. start time will get them home an hour earlier to start their Labor Day weekend," said team spokesman Jeff Blumb.

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