‘He'll always be a Packer'

During a Thursday news conference, general manager Ted Thompson admits mistakes were made that led to a trade with the New York Jets, and he is aware that his legacy is at state. Coach Mike McCarthy, meanwhile, envisions a role for Favre once the quarterback is retired for good.

Packers President and CEO Mark Murphy said former Green Bay quarterback Brett Favre will "always" be a Packer, and general manager Ted Thompson admitted communication problems played a role in the stunning divorce that culminated late Wednesday with Favre being traded to the New York Jets.

Thompson was asked if he feared he'd be known forever as the man who traded the iconic quarterback.

"No, I don't think anybody would be comfortable with that," Thompson said. "This is in many ways sad that this is where it came to. At the end of the day, I think, though, that all of the parties involved felt like this was the best solution to a very difficult situation. Hopefully, we can do things that maybe people will not remember that."

Thompson admitted he had to take a deep breath when it was time to sign the papers making official Favre's trade to the Jets, and said the team will do a "thorough study" to see where things went awry.

"In this case, frankly, I don't have all the answers. I never have," Thompson said. "My first-blush guess is probably communication breakdowns, when one group of people are in Wisconsin and another group of people are down in Mississippi, sometimes you think that everybody understands where everybody is. But then all of a sudden, the communication becomes sometimes even through the media, where what some people read in the paper is actually said by someone else. And then all of a sudden, I think, breakdowns (happen). That's my responsibility."

"I do think that we tried to do the best we could all the time," Thompson added, "but I'm not sure that we didn't make mistakes.

Mutual decision

Time and again, coach Mike McCarthy was pushed on why he wouldn't bring Favre back onto the team after Favre was reinstated by the NFL on Sunday from retirement status. Time and again, McCarthy said it was because Favre could not let go of his bitterness about the events of the past five weeks.

"I was just looking for him to tell me that he was ready to play for the Green Bay Packers," McCarthy said. "And if we would have got to that point, then our conversation would have continued. But it did not get to that point. That's the facts."

When Favre couldn't deliver the answers McCarthy was looking for, both sides agreed it was time to sever ties, leading to Wednesday night's bombshell.

McCarthy aggressively disagreed with the notion that Favre would have remained a member of the Packers had the coach handed him the starting job — both sides have said McCarthy agreed to hold an open competition — and said the decision wasn't about whether Favre or Rodgers gave the team its best chance to win.

"It never got to that point," McCarthy said, continuing a common theme from Tuesday's news conference. "It was never a matter if Brett Favre can play. He finished No. 2 in the league in MVP voting. I'm very in tune with what his level of play is. That was never the factor. In my opinion, based on our communication, I was never truly convinced he was going to play. Now, he wants to play, and he should play."

But why not in Green Bay?

"I understand how large Brett is," McCarthy said. "He totally agrees with my focus. We talked about it openly. We talked about moving forward to try to get to that spot. But we did not get there. That's the truth." "Ultimately," Murphy added at one point, "it was Brett's decision. If he wanted to come back, he was welcome. We welcomed him. Then, it was really a football situation, with Mike sitting down with Brett."

A new direction

Thompson agreed there was animosity between him and Favre, but said it would not have prevented him from welcoming Favre back on the roster after McCarthy and Favre talked for six hours on Monday and Tuesday.

"I think it's fair to say there were some feelings there that he felt like were hard to let go," Thompson said. "That somewhere during the course of the past little bit, that he perceived something that I did. ... I don't want to give the impression everything was honky-dory, but we a very good conversation (on Monday night) and it was not uncomfortable for either of us."

Thompson said Favre's retirement forced the team to move into a new direction. The Packers drafted two quarterbacks, and as the offseason progressed, the "more complicated" it would have become to incorporate Favre. Still, the door was open as late as Tuesday morning.

With Favre gone, Rodgers is — for the first time in five weeks, and maybe for the first time ever — the Packers' undisputed starting quarterback. Thompson recognizes that his wagon is firmly attached to Rodgers' success.

"This is the National Football League. We understand that when we sign on," Thompson said. "So, yeah, does that put us at risk? There's all kinds or risk in the NFL, all kinds of risk in life. You make the best decisions you can based on what you believe is what's in the best interests of the Green Bay Packers. You do it firmly, and you do it the way a leader's supposed to do it. That's what we try to do every day with every decision we make.

In the end, while the specter of Favre throwing 20 interceptions and the Jets scrambling to win seven games would soothe some of the repercussions that could haunt Thompson for years, he joined the others in wishing Favre well with his new team.

"No, I don't," Thompson said when asked if hopes Favre stumbles in New York. "I don't think you can function as a human being like that. I'm not saying that I'm holier than though, but I don't look at things that way. Brett's been an unbelievable legend here as a Green Bay Packer, and I think he's going to do it in a different uniform, I think all of us would like to see him do well."

While Favre no longer plays for Green Bay, he'll always be a Packer, Murphy said. McCarthy echoed those sentiments, and said he envisions a role for Favre in the future.

"I know the communication that we had. He's a Green Bay Packer," McCarthy said. "He wants to come back here. He wants to be welcomed back here. We talked about him coming back when he does retire and working training camp. Just something so he can be part of it.

"I told him he could work with the quarterbacks, but I don't want any new plays."


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