McCarthy rises to occasion

Whether or not the Favre supporters liked what they heard from McCarthy, they at least have to applaud his direction, Packer Report's Matt Tevsh writes.

Brett Favre has been indecisive. Ted Thompson seems like he wants it all to disappear. And Mark Murphy represented the team's deal to pay Favre to stay retired, or so it was perceived.

What the Packers' quarterback, general manager and president and CEO have failed to do, their coach accomplished late Tuesday afternoon. After meeting face-to-face with Favre in Green Bay for about six hours the past two days, Mike McCarthy at least took a strong step toward a resolution in the quarterback's messy and seemingly endless unretirement saga.

"I thought it was a conversation that was brutally honest," he said to a packed media auditorium of local and national reporters. "We agreed to disagree. We stood on opposite sides of the fence on a number of issues, and I respect the way he feels, but the one thing that I was looking for out of that conversation was he ready and committed to play football for the Green Bay Packers? And his answer frankly throughout the conversation was his mind-set, based on the things that happened throughout this whole course, that's not where he was."

Throughout the Favre drama, which heated up in July, McCarthy has seen something in Favre that others have not. Since the quarterback's retirement press conference March 6 through the last 48 hours, he feels Favre has remained less than 100 percent committed toward playing for the Packers.

Thus, even with Favre's return to Green Bay on Sunday and subsequent reinstatement on Monday, the door to his return to the team has been all but slammed shut.

"There has been no decision made," said McCarthy, "but that's where we concluded in our conversation, that basically he was not in the right mind-set to play here because of all of the things that went on."

Though McCarthy gave indications by his tone that he was tired of playing the public relations game, he has been clear and thorough in his evaluation of Favre. He had a specific list of questions to ask Favre over the past two days, some even from players. He showed courage in his convictions that he feels Favre is making decisions on emotion — like those based on the Packers not wanting him or not handing him the starting job.

McCarthy also admitted he never thought Favre would come back.

"I told him that through the whole process, I did not think he was going to play this year," he said. "Just listening to all the conversation, the number of things that have happened between March all the way to this point, and that was one of the things, I said, ‘Prove me wrong. Tell me I'm wrong, that you're playing for all the right reasons.' ... I thought his decision to play was emotional. He told me that was not the case, and I respect that. I told him over and over again, I would like to be wrong, but I never thought through this whole process that he was going to play this year, and if I'm wrong, then I'm wrong."

If McCarthy was two things during his 26-minute Q&A with reporters, it was redundant and redundant. Though he failed to discuss all the details of his private conversations with Favre, he revealed enough to make some progress in the long and complicated matters that have grabbed the nation's attention.

His underlying message through it all? Favre is done in Green Bay.

"I think you need to ask Brett," responded McCarthy to the question of why Favre isn't the starter for the Packers. "I'm sure he said it, it's pretty complex as far as the way he feels, the chain of events, the path that we have taken to get here. It's not as simple as No. 4 running out there playing football. He's a great football player. I loved coaching him, loved seeing him play. We talked about all of those things, but it's a situation that is extremely personal for him. The path to get to where we are has done some damage. That's where he is."

Whether or not the Favre supporters liked what they heard from McCarthy, they at least have to applaud his direction. Of all the Packers' leaders, he is standing up as the strongest, and on Tuesday, he provided some insight as to why a split between the two parties is inevitable.

Matt Tevsh is a regular contributor to and Packer Report magazine. E-mail him at

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