BEAVER DAM, Wis. — Last year, the Packers' annual Tailgate Tour of Wisconsin wrapped up in Marinette on July 11, the date when Brett Favre declared he wanted his release from the team he had quarterbacked for 16 glorious seasons.
This year's Tailgate Tour wrapped up here in this south-central Wisconsin community on Thursday night. The tour was held two months earlier than last year, but the twice-retired Favre remains very much in the news.
"Yeah, no matter when we do it," Packers President Mark Murphy told Packer Report with a laugh.
Murphy met with Packer Report after signing the last of 350 or so autographs on the Beaver Dam High School football field, as well as Packer Report and a couple of television reporters before the event in the school's gymnasium.
Favre reportedly is considering coming out of retirement for a second time, this time to play for the Packers' bitter rivals in Minnesota. Playing for the Vikings would be Favre's attempt to "stick it" to the Packers' leadership, specifically general manager Ted Thompson.
Murphy, however, said he wouldn't take it personally.
"All I would say is it was a very difficult situation for the organization (last year)," Murphy said. "On the one hand, we had a legendary, iconic player, and we wanted to be fair to him, but we obviously wanted to act in the best long-term interests of the organization.
"When he initially retired, we had really made a decision as an organization to move forward. We installed Aaron Rodgers as the quarterback and drafted two quarterbacks in the draft. Then, when he changed his mind, it was really hard to undo that. Ultimately, we made the decision to trade him. I think, particularly Ted Thompson, handled that situation very delicately and I think really did a nice job for the organization in a tough situation."
With Murphy, safety Nick Collins, linebacker Brady Poppinga and receiver Jordy Nelson on a coach bus headed back to Green Bay, ESPN reported that Favre has consulted with famed orthopedic surgeon James Andrews about ways in which he could play next season without underdoing surgery on his partially torn right biceps tendon.
Would playing for the Vikings make the healing process between Favre and the Packers that much more challenging?
"No," Murphy said. "I can't speak for the fans, but I think for us as an organization, we've moved on. If he wants to play, he should pursue that opportunity. We'll see. It would be certainly interesting and would make for good television. But long term, I don't think it'll have a dramatic impact on the relationship between him and the organization."
Favre's speculated interest in the Vikings didn't surprise Poppinga, who told fans that he expected Favre to come out of his second retirement. Nor has it surprised Murphy, even though Favre's ailing arm played a role in him throwing a league-high 22 interceptions last season.
"How many players at the age of 40 can even think about playing in the NFL?" Murphy asked.
Murphy echoed what he said at the Scouting Combine in February. At some point, Favre's career will be celebrated in appropriate fashion. That point, however, doesn't appear to be coming anytime soon.
"We do want to have a long-term relationship with Brett," Murphy said. "We've told him that we're going to retire his number. I think both sides need some time to pass, and at the right time, we'll work all of those things out."
Editor's note: There is more to life than Brett Favre. We talked to Murphy about the status of the collective bargaining agreement and the prospects for an 18-game schedule. Check out what Murphy had to say on those hot issues later this week.
Agree or disagree?: Discuss hot Packers topics in our, free forums. Leave Bill a question in the subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum
Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at email@example.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Bill also is giving Facebook and Twitter a try. Find him on Twitter at twitter.com/packerreport and Facebook.