Tampering Might Be Hard To Prove

While the Vikings are under investigation by the NFL for the tampering allegations brought against them by the Green Bay Packers, proving any wrongdoing might be difficult.

The latest chapter in the Brett Favre saga could have the Vikings in some serious hot water. In a story that broke yesterday on the wire services and other media outlets, Green Bay officials are actually blaming Favre's change of heart to return to the NFL on the Vikings and, apparently more specifically, the result of talks between Favre and former Packers QB coach and current Minnesota offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell.

According to reports, the grievance claims that the Packers believe the Vikings and Favre already had talks about the Vikings' interest, which is why Favre has been pushing so hard for his release.

As the allegation goes, the Packers have turned over information they believe confirms the tampering charge and have asked league officials to examine telephone records to confirm that the contract between Favre and Bevell was more than just the normal interaction between the friends.

Although Favre is officially retired, he still remains the property of the Packers if he seeks to return to the league, and any discussion about any potential relocation to another team would constitute tampering because Favre still had three years left of his contract at the time of his retirement announcement.

The NFL has taken a dim view to tampering by other teams, a charge that has been leveled by multiple sources in terms of free-agent contracts that are completed and inked within hours of the signing period opening. Understandably, there is the belief that teams and agents have pre-arranged deals before free agency begins, which would explain how complicated, multi-year contracts could be finalized in such a short time frame. However, free agency and tampering with a player under contract are two very different things.

Phone records were the source of tampering charges made by the Chicago Bears against the 49ers in accusations of tampering with linebacker Lance Briggs. Although there little more than phone records to go by, the league agreed that tampering took place and San Francisco lost a fifth-round draft pick and was forced to swap third-round picks with the Bears.

"Even if you get a guy's phone records, that he talked to Brett, what's to say that they're not talking about hunting," Jay Glazer of FoxSports.com, who broke the tampering story, told Fox 9 news. "But at the same time, they might have. I will say this: If there was something going on, if they deny it and then it comes out, then that'll be a lot worse."

The Vikings have declined to comment, leaving the league to investigate the matter.

THURSDAY NOTES

  • Brad Childress was not around to comment on the matter Wednesday. He spent 45 minutes flying around in Blue Angels fighter plane in Duluth Wednesday and, when asked to comment on the allegation, said he was unaware of any wrongdoing.

  • The Vikings aren't the only team being questioned in relation to Favre. Tampa Bay general manager Bruce Allen is denying that he had a dinner meeting with Favre Monday night. Brett must feel like the best looking girl at the prom if so many allegations of suitors prove to be true.

  • In the airing of third part of a Brett Favre interview on Fox News' "On the Record with Greta Van Susteren, Favre said that Packers general manager Ted Thompson lied when he said he wasn't aware of Favre lobbying for Green Bay to sign wide receiver Randy Moss last offseason. "That's bull," Favre said of Thompson's denial.

  • The Ravens announced the signing of QB Joe Flacco Wednesday to a five-year, $30 million deal. Flacco is represented by Joe Linta, the same agent who represents Vikings center Matt Birk, who is entering the final year of his current contract.

  • In the never-ending search for truth, the NFL has hired experts in the field of gang activity to review game film searching for signs that players may be using gang symbols as part of on-field celebrations. Actually pinpointing gang symbols as opposed to other celebratory activities may not be very easy to identify.

  • The ongoing dispute between the NFL Players Association and the league over language in the collective bargaining agreement is expected to be resolved by next week. A special master has been assigned to go review the case and render a decision.


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