‘Coming back was not an option'

Brett Favre confirms what many suspected in Fox News interview - the Green Bay Packers are moving on without him

A frustrated Brett Favre spoke with Fox News' Greta Van Susteren tonight from his trophy room in his Hattiesburg, Miss., home, explaining how he feels the Green Bay Packers have treated him since he officially announced his retirement from football on March 6. Favre admitted that he was not 100 percent committed to playing earlier this offseason, but he is now.

Though he phoned Packers head coach Mike McCarthy within the past month announcing an "itch to play" again, he was told that the team has decided to move on with Aaron Rodgers as their quarterback. Favre recalled a conversation he had on June 20 with McCarthy. That conversation came after he asked the Packers if he could return to the team in late March before changing his mind two days before a scheduled news conference and remaining retired.

More than a month-and-a-half later, he phoned McCarthy again expressing an "itch to play" football.

"I said, ‘You know, Mike, I'm thinking about coming back," Favre told Van Susteren, who is from Appleton, Wis., is a Packers shareholder and previously had interviewed Favre. "I've been working out up at the high school.' I said, ‘That was a big hurdle for me to get over, you know, don't want to get up and go up there and run and throw.' Which, I did that this morning, and I feel good. And I said, ‘You know, I have to admit, you know, I'm thinking about it.' And I said … ‘What's your take on it? … If I'm going to play, it's going to be in Green Bay, but I need to find out what their take is.

"I could just see him (makes faces and noises indicating it's a burden) ‘Ah, Brett, this … we've moved on.' And I said, ‘Um, moved on?' He (said), ‘Yeah, we moved on. I had to tell the team something. … You told me you were not 100 percent committed back, not only when you retired, but several weeks (after). We were talking about coming down there, and we've had that conversation, and you said you were not 100 percent committed.' I said, ‘You're right. You're absolutely right.' And I said, ‘But Mike' — and it was a good conversation, and we've always had good communication, the two of us — and I said, ‘You're right. I totally agree. I was not 100 percent committed.' And I said, ‘But you guys wanted an answer, in March, and I gave you the honest answer.

"Had I been able to wait until training camp, that would have been great.' He said, ‘Well, why didn't you tell me that? We would have let you do it.' … I talked to myself, ‘Well, you know, you told me before the draft and free agency,' and they ended up drafting two … quarterbacks. And once again, that's OK. That's fine. All I was asking June 20 was, ‘OK, you guys have a different path. Fine. What does that mean for me?'

"So I say, ‘So that means either you give me my helmet, welcome back; you release me; or attempt to trade me.' And we all know that that's a possibility, but you know, a way-out-there possibility. And (McCarthy) says, ‘Well … playing here is not an option, but we can't envision you playing with another team … either.' And I thought, ‘So basically, I'm not playing for anyone if I choose to come back.' And I understand, you know, I'm guilty of one thing, and that's retiring early, and I have an answer for that. … I knew that I would have second thoughts, and I think Mike has even made the comment that, ‘You know, I knew Brett would go through this. I knew that he would have these second thoughts.' Well, I am. And so, I mean, you're telling me playing there is not an option, but playing elsewhere, ‘We just can't … we're trying to protect your legacy.' Well, thank you, I appreciate that. But apparently now, they want to protect my legacy by bringing me back and having me be a backup. Boy, that, that is really good."

Favre has made it clear he would not return to the Packers if he wasn't the starter. And while Favre said the Packers asked him for a list of teams to which he would accept a trade, he wants to be released to make sure he ends up on a competitive club.

Packers general manager Ted Thompson said the team wasn't going to release Favre, but he could come back in a "different role than he was" because the team is committed to going forward with Aaron Rodgers.

Thompson and McCarthy wouldn't discuss the possibility of trading Favre and said they hadn't received any trade inquiries as of Saturday, according to the Associated Press.

"I can't envision being with anyone else or haven't envisioned being with anyone else," Favre told Van Susteren. "That has always been my focus. As I said then, I will say now, really, as I've said my whole career, playing in Green Bay is — and you're from up there — there is nothing like it. There is nothing like it, and it has been — it's one of those things, it is destiny. Kid from south Mississippi, a lot like Bart Starr. Who would have ever thought I would go to Green Bay and have the career I had? And it's unfortunate that it has come to this. And I'm sure there are a lot of fans out there thinking from what they've heard that Brett is a traitor, he wants to play elsewhere. I was told that playing in Green Bay was not an option. Regardless of what you here from up there — and, you know, I'm not making it up. I was told that playing in Green Bay was not an option. Yeah, I was told that, ‘We can't imagine you playing, or can't envision you playing with another team' as well. What does that tell me? Tells me, ‘We don't want you playing, period.'"

Favre did clear the air by saying that Thompson and the Packers never told him not to come back after the 2007 season ended.

"They wanted an answer before free agency slash draft, and Mike McCarthy called every week after I'd say about a two- or three-week grace period after the season, Mike would call, ‘Hey, how's thing going?' Favre said. "You know, ‘Where are you at with your decision?' ‘Boy, Mike, I'm kind of burned out right now and just need some time.' I said, ‘Boy, it'd be nice if I could wait until training camp.'

‘Well, you know, we have a different direction we've got to go in, you know, if you're not going to be here.' … Which is fine. I totally understand that. But I was not ready to totally commit, and the bottom line — I said that in my press conference — regardless of what people think, the bottom line, March 3, when I got in front of the podium, did I want to play? Yes. One-hundred percent? No. And I think people who have followed my career, people who know me closely, (know) I won't play if I'm not 100 percent committed. I could have easily said, ‘You know what? I'll take the money, I'll come back and hopefully, I'll get committed somewhere either before training camp, during training camp or during the season. No one will know.' But that's not me. And so, on March 3, when I got in front of the podium, I was not — and one of the things I said, Greta, was ‘I know I can play, but at this time, I don't think I want to.' And sort of left the door open. But they wanted an answer, and am I mad at them for that? No. And I think that's what needs to be cleared up, is that, hey, you wanted an answer? I gave you the honest answer at that time, as opposed to lying to you and saying, ‘Yeah, oh yeah, I'll come back,' and giving you not what's expected of me, and that's 100 percent effort."


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