Favre asks for release

Favre wants chance to seek new team; the Packers say they ‘will do what's right and in the best interest of the team'; report suggests Thompson was prepared to welcome Favre back at the end of March.

After 16 years as the Packers' starting quarterback, Brett Favre wants out of Green Bay.

The only questions, it seems, are how and when the team will sever those ties.

After a conference call on Tuesday in which Favre told Packers general manager Ted Thompson and coach Mike McCarthy that he wanted to come back for an 18th NFL season — a request the team was cold toward — Favre and agent Bus Cook overnighted a letter to the Packers in which Favre sought his unconditional release.

The Packers received that letter on Friday morning and issued a statement that afternoon in which, in so many words, they said they are prepared to move on without the future Hall of Fame quarterback who guided the team to a victory in Super Bowl XXXI.

"As with all Packers greats, Brett's legacy will always be celebrated by our fans and the organization, regardless of any change in his personal intentions," the team said. "Brett and Deanna will always be a part of the Packers family."

New Packers President and CEO Mark Murphy was in Marinette for the final stop on the team's "Tailgate Tour." Murphy met with reporters for all of 55 seconds — only half of which were spent on the issue that gripped the sporting world. He did not field questions.

"Obviously today, there was a development in our situation with Brett Favre," Murphy said. "We put out a statement earlier today and I want to refer you to that. The only other thing I would add is I worked very closely with Ted Thompson and Mike McCarthy on the situation with Brett Favre and they have my complete support."

For the first time in the saga — which started July 2 when ESPN's Chris Mortensen, the reporter who broke Friday's news, reported that Favre had an "itch" to end his four-month retirement — there were two sides of the story.

On Friday, Mortensen reported Thompson and McCarthy showed no enthusiasm for a Favre comeback. It was the latest salvo from the Favre camp that portrayed Thompson as giving a cold shoulder to the NFL's only three-time MVP in order to move full speed ahead with untested Aaron Rodgers.

Later Friday, FoxSports.com's Jay Glazer reported Favre told McCarthy and Thompson in late March — just weeks after he retired — that he was having second thoughts. According to Glazer, Thompson and Co. scheduled a flight to Mississippi for the following week, only for Favre to tell them a few days before the meeting that he, in Glazer's words, "had changed his mind yet again and was staying retired."

So, the Packers moved forward with the Rodgers era, and selected two quarterbacks in April's draft.

"Brett earned and exercised the right to retire on his terms," the Packers said in their statement. "We wanted him to return and welcomed him back on more than one occasion.

"Brett's press conference and subsequent conversations in the following weeks illustrated his commitment to retirement.

"The finality of his decision to retire was accepted by the organization. At that point, the Green Bay Packers made the commitment to move forward with our football team."

At this point, moving forward appears to mean a trade or release for Favre. In what has become a public-relations nightmare, the Packers no doubt would like to trade Favre to avoid the worst-case scenario of Favre signing with a rival, such as the Minnesota Vikings, who have championship-caliber talent but nothing resembling a proven quarterback.

"As always," the team said, "the Packers will do what's right and in the best interest of the team."

Cook, however, reportedly wrote in the letter that he hoped the Packers would grant Favre an "amicable" and no-strings release because of all the quarterback has done for the franchise. That would allow Favre to shop himself around to find the best fit.

"If they will not have him in Green Bay and he wants to play and he's ready and able to play, yes he would consider playing for someone else," said NFL Network's Steve Mariucci, a close Favre friend and former Packers quarterbacks coach. "As hard as I think that is to imagine, I think the answer is yes, he would consider playing for someone else if it's not going to happen in Green Bay." If the Packers fail to comply with Favre's request, the next step for Favre would be to ask for reinstatement to the roster. If that happens, the team would have 24 hours to put him back on the active roster or release him.

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