McCarthy: Rodgers is starting QB

Coach says ‘a lot has happened' to set the Packers on their course without Brett Favre and isn't worried about backlash in the locker room.

"Never say never."

That's what Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy said on Saturday when asked if there was a possibility Brett Favre is his starting quarterback at some point this season.

While McCarthy left open that possibility, he reiterated — again and again during his pre-training camp news conference — that Aaron Rodgers is the Packers' starting quarterback. At a couple of points during the 32-minute question-and-answer session, McCarthy showed some irritation at being probed continually about a player who doesn't show up on the official roster and hasn't spent a second with his teammates since last season ended with his championship-killing interception.

"Right now, Brett Favre is retired/reserved. I don't see that confusing at all," McCarthy said when asked about fans who wonder why the team can't hold an open competition between Favre and Rodgers.

"There's been a lot that's happened," McCarthy continued. "No one wants to say it or talk about it, but a lot has gone on here in the last month or so. The decision, the direction has been pointed, and that's the one we're sticking to."

McCarthy had no updates on Friday's news, in which Favre reportedly was going to submit his reinstatement letter to Commissioner Roger Goodell (the NFL told Packer Report that Favre did not file those papers). Nor did McCarthy know if Favre would show up for Sunday's mandatory team meeting or if Favre would be wearing a red No. 4 practice jersey for Monday morning's opening practice.

"The first step is reinstatement, the second would be to be part of our 80-man roster, and then we'll move on from there," McCarthy said.

McCarthy was asked the million-dollar question: Does Favre or Rodgers give the Packers a better chance to win this season?

"For as simple as that question sounds, it's obviously a lot more complicated than that," McCarthy said. "Aaron Rodgers is our starting quarterback. We've come to that decision because of a number of different factors."

McCarthy said he talked to Favre "for quite awhile" at last weekend's Packers Hall of Fame banquet and text messaged Favre on Friday, but nothing from those conversations "really changes anything we're talking about."

"The point is, Brett retired," McCarthy said. "Did he think about coming back? Yes, but thinking and committing are two different scenarios."

McCarthy did not discount the possibility there will be a faction of players in his locker room who will wonder why the team has moved away from Favre, who had one of his finest seasons of his Hall of Fame career last year and led the team within one victory of the Super Bowl,.

"I don't think it's a huge concern," McCarthy said. "It will not be the first time the coach and any of the players have had disagreements. We've disagreed quite often, but the most important part of disagreeing is having the ability to communicate it. Conflict is good. It brings a result and order."

"This is big, it's well-publicized," he continued. "I'm not naive to that. But it will be discussed. The direction will be made clear to everybody, and then everybody will be held accountable to move in that direction."

Bill Huber writes for Packer Report. E-mail him at packwriter2002@yahoo.com


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