Wait and See: Packers Cautious on Favre News

Brett Favre reportedly will retire, but for his former teammates, they'll believe it once they see Favre is not behind center for the Vikings' Week 1 showdown against New Orleans. We have reaction from the locker room and GM Ted Thompson.

Given Brett Favre's wishy-washy history when it comes to matters of retirement, one of Favre's former pass-catching targets in Green Bay summed up the thoughts of the few veterans who made themselves available in the Packers' locker room on Tuesday.

"You know what? I still wouldn't count him out," Donald Lee said. "I don't think he's retiring until the season starts. When the season starts and he's not there, then I'll say he's officially retired.

Favre's return for a 20th NFL season seemed like a foregone conclusion after he had surgery on his left ankle in May and began throwing passes at a local high school last month. So, news of Favre's alleged retirement caught some players in Green Bay off-guard.

"You never know that's going to happen," veteran right tackle Mark Tauscher, who blocked for Favre from 2000 through 2007, told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's Greg Bedard. "Who knows if that's legit or what. Until you actually go through a season, you never know that's going to happen."

As if to amplify that statement, kicker Ryan Longwell — who played with Favre in Green Bay and Minnesota and is one of Favre's closest friends on the team — said he had texted and talked to Favre before Tuesday's practice and got no indication that Favre was retiring.

"I don't know where the reports came from, but he certainly hasn't said that to me," Longwell told Viking Update's Tim Yotter. "We talk a lot. We've talked a lot this week. Obviously, he's wondering how the team is doing and stuff and asking about the guys – concerned about his teammates."


Brett Favre embraces Donald Driver after last year's game at the Metrodome.
Scott Boehm/Getty Images
Favre enjoyed a legendary career with Green Bay from 1992 through 2007 and, with Ron Wolf, Mike Holmgren and Reggie White, was one of the driving forces behind the team's return to brilliance. He holds practically every passing record in franchise history, as well as league records for touchdown passes (497), passing yards (69,329) and consecutive starts (286).

After retiring following the 2007 season, Favre had second thoughts and wanted to return. From there, the relationship between the quarterback and the franchise turned sour, leading to general manager Ted Thompson trading Favre to the New York Jets.

"I haven't thought of it," Thompson said at his regularly scheduled news conference following Tuesday's practice. "To tell you the truth, somebody mentioned it to me out on the practice field, and I don't know anything about it. So, we're just trying to get through this dog day before we get to our player day off tomorrow."

After a one-year layover in New York, Favre retired again. Then, he asked for his release and, predictably, signed with Minnesota. Incredibly, despite missing half of training camp while mulling his future, he had arguably his finest season of his brilliant career. Favre completed a career-best 68.4 percent of his passes. His 4,202 passing yards were his most since 1998. His 33 touchdowns against seven interceptions was by far the best of his career. His touchdown total was the best since claiming the third of three straight MVP awards in 1997 and he had never thrown fewer than 13 interceptions as a full-time starter.

One of the best parts of his season was beating Green Bay twice, with a combined seven touchdowns and no interceptions.

"This is my first time hearing it today, so if he does, congrats for him," Packers Pro Bowl safety Nick Collins said. "I wish him luck and wish him the best but we just want to keep moving forward."

Clearly, the outlook in the NFC North would change dramatically if Favre in fact is retired and stays retired. The Vikings won the division title by one game last season, and both Minnesota and Green Bay are seen as one of the elite teams in the conference.

Not that linebacker Nick Barnett put much stock into that line of thinking.

"I don't have any thoughts. I don't care," Barnett said. "If he is retired, congratulations. If he's not, we have the same goal, and that's to hit him. It doesn't matter if he retires or not or whoever's playing quarterback over there — Norman Bates, Jeffrey Dahmer, Saddam Hussein, doesn't matter. We still have the same goal in mind."


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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at packwriter2002@yahoo.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/packerreport and Facebook under Bill Huber.


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