Fan Fest notes: Favre on hold

President Mark Murphy says Favre will not be honored this season; says practice field will be heated. Plus, other highlights from Fan Fest on Saturday.

The Green Bay Packers will retire Brett Favre's No. 4, but it won't be in 2009.

"I don't anticipate it being this season," Packers President Mark Murphy told reporters gathered at Lambeau Field for Fan Fest on Saturday. "Obviously, we will do it. We've made that commitment. He deserves to have his number retired. I just think both sides need some time."

Murphy then threw a zinger at Favre, recalling the Packers' plans to retire Favre's jersey in the 2008 opener being canceled when Favre came out of retirement.

"Quite honestly, from a practical standpoint, we've had to cancel one retirement ceremony already," he said. "I think it's smart to make sure he is retired rather than going through a situation like that again."

- Murphy said the decision was made recently to heat about half of the under-construction 150-yard Ray Nitschke practice field, which, if the weather cooperates, will be ready for training camp.

Using the Lambeau-style heating coils on 75 yards of the field will allow the team to practice outdoors safely in November and December. The surface of the old practice fields weren't heated, so the team practiced indoors because of fears players could be injured on the snow-covered surface.

"I think from a competitive standpoint it will help us," Murphy said. "It's the same surface as we play on in Lambeau. I think being able to practice on that surface throughout most of the season will be very helpful for us."

Work on the new practice field continued all winter. It will seat 3,000 fans.

- Murphy said the NFLPA should have its new executive director in place next week, which will allow the league and union to begin negotiations toward a new collective bargaining agreement.

There are two "pressure points" in upcoming negotiations, he said. First is the start of the next league year, March 2010, which would be played without a salary cap.

"I think teams will continue to operate, as we have, under a cap," Murphy said, figuring there would be spending restraint because of the economy.

The second pressure point would be the end of the CBA in March 2011.

Special teams highlights

New special teams coordinator Shawn Slocum was the assistant last year under Mike Stock. Under Stock in 2008, the Packers had among the worst special teams in the league. Slocum said his philosophy is, "It's not the 'what' but the 'how.'" That means his focus will be on making sure his units are prepared and play with intensity.

"There are no magic schemes," he said.

Slocum noted that about 20 percent of plays in a game are from the special teams. And in a league in which so many games are so close, the huge swings of field position that come in the kicking game are critical.

"The tams are so even that one field goal can be the difference in a ballgame many times," he said.

Offseason program starts Monday

Offensive line coach James Campen broke down the art of offensive line play. During a question-and-answer period with fans, he mentioned that the offseason program starts on Monday.

That incorporates about two hours of weightlifting, followed by players studying cut-ups of game film to study their technique.

In a sign of the times, these "voluntary" workouts will be attended by almost every player. When Campen was playing, he said only about seven players lived in Green Bay and maybe a dozen would be at the offseason workouts.

Heavy lifting by Redding

Speaking of the offseason workouts, that was a focus of new strength and conditioning coordinator Dave Redding during his session with the fans.

Redding, a longtime strength coach who spent most of his long career following Marty Schottenheimer from Cleveland to Kansas City to Washington to San Diego, is thrilled to be in Green Bay and to be working for his childhood favorite team.

"When I was a little boy growing up in Nebraska, I had an obsession. If Nebraska lost on Saturday and Green Bay lost on Sunday, I was in therapy on Monday," he said. "There's two things in Nebraska: Corn and Nebraska football. Here, it's cheese and the Green Bay Packers."

Redding says he's not infatuated by bench-press numbers and the like. "I've had guys who couldn't bench press their sister and be All-Pro. I've had guys who could bench press the room but not make the team."

Offseason workouts are held on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays.

Moss talks 3-4

A couple of quick hits from assistant head coach/inside linebackers Winston Moss, with a more in-depth story coming in the next day or two.

Moss said he's "very confident" that Ryan Pickett can handle playing nose tackle, a role that Moss calls the most important in the 3-4.

Maybe the outside linebacker opposite Aaron Kampman will be Desmond Bishop. Moss likes Bishop's big-play potential, which he flashed on occasion last season.

The Packers' defense will be based on Pittsburgh's defense, which Capers helped build. In Pittsburgh, safety Troy Polamalu plays at the line of scrimmage a lot. Moss said he sees "some similarities" between Polamalu and Atari Bigby.

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