Let the battle begin?

Brett Favre gets his reinstatement, and it appears the Packers will throw open the QB competition between him and Aaron Rodgers.

The Brett Favre saga took several breathtaking turns on Sunday, with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell reinstating Favre to the active roster and the Packers deciding "to turn this situation to our advantage."

That means, contrary to what coach Mike McCarthy and general manager Ted Thompson have maintained for weeks, Favre and Aaron Rodgers will be competing for the starting quarterback job.

"Sixteen years after Brett Favre came to the Packers, he is returning for a 17th season," Packers President Mark Murphy said in a statement released by the team. "He has had a great career with our organization, and although we built this year around the assumption that Brett meant what he said about retiring, Brett is coming back. We will welcome him back and turn this situation to our advantage.

 "Frankly, Brett's change of mind put us in a very difficult spot. We now will revise many actions and assumptions about our long-term future, all predicated on Brett's decision last March to retire. As a result of his decision, we invested considerably in a new and different future without Brett and we were obviously moving in that direction. That's why this wasn't easy. Having crossed the Rubicon once when Brett decided to retire, it's very difficult to reorient our plans and cross it again in the opposite direction — but we'll put this to our advantage."

Negotiations on a 10-year personal-services contract worth in excess of $20 million broke down. With no appealing trade opportunities and dead set against granting Favre his release — Favre showing up in a Minnesota uniform on opening night could wind up being career suicide for Thompson and Murphy — the Packers apparently felt they had no other recourse other than to bring back Favre.

"They said they'd welcome him back," Favre's agent, Bus Cook, told the Hattiesburg (Miss.) American. "Which is kind of ironic, because they've never asked him back. I really don't think they've got a lot of choice. The rules dictate they've got to welcome him back."

Favre will be reinstated to the Packers' roster at noon (Central) Monday, according to league spokesman Randall Liu. Favre is expected to land in Green Bay at 5:30 p.m. Sunday — an hour before the Family Night Scrimmage begins.

The turn of events on Sunday afternoon may have been a surprise even to Favre.

"I don't know how this will be resolved yet," Favre told friend Al Jones of the SunHerald in Biloxi, Miss., earlier in the day. "I do know if I am going to play this year, I need to get in camp. I would love to play again. Everyone says, ‘Brett, go play.' My question is, where?" The answer to that question appears to be Green Bay, though with so many twists and turns to this saga, there's no guarantee. The Packers do not practice on Monday, and have a 2 p.m. practice on Tuesday.

Reports on Saturday varied on which way Favre was leaning with the personal-services contract.

Some sources believed Favre wanted to continue his playing career, and knew he must force his hand now by creating an untenable atmosphere at training camp to finally get his wish. Others, however, believed Favre — upset about his treatment by the Packers but believing he'd never get his wish of playing in Green Bay again or a chance to join rival Minnesota — wanted to extract the heaviest financial toll possible on the Packers.

"My intentions have always been to play for Green Bay," Favre told Jones. "Why wouldn't I want to play in Green Bay? They have as good a chance to win the Super Bowl as anyone."

The Packers have been planning on this scenario all along — the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported the Packers have kept a room for him at St. Norbert College.

Favre likely will go through physical testing on Monday ahead of Tuesday's practice.

Favre's comeback attempt became public on July 2, when it was reported he had an "itch" to return to football. A few days later, he text-messaged Thompson to tell him he wanted to return to the team.

The Packers' roster is at the maximum 80 players, not including Ryan Grant, since that contract has not been signed yet. Once Grant and Favre are added to the roster, the Packers will need to make two moves to clear roster space.

"It has been stressful, but I will be fine," Favre told Jones. "I am hurt, but they have their reason for moving on, and that's fine. I've always let my playing do the talking."

No doubt, the news will be a hot topic at the Family Night Scrimmage. Plus, McCarthy will meet the press on Monday morning to detail how he'll handle the situation.

"Brett will be in camp tomorrow," Murphy said in the statement. "Although there has been uncertainty regarding Brett's return, Ted Thompson and Coach McCarthy had previously discussed this and have had a plan in place. Coach McCarthy will talk to the team and the quarterbacks about the plan moving forward, and after he has done that, we will share it publicly.

"No matter what, I look forward to another successful season for the Packers and our fans. This has been a tough situation, but the Packers will make the most of it."

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

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