Brett Favre is at Packers training camp. That's a fact that visual evidence will support. Other than that, the whole ordeal surrounding the Pro Bowl quarterback involves speculation and unnamed sources.
A report in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel said that the Packers contacted the Vikings about trading for Favre, but Vikings coach Brad Childress refuted that claim.
"I think that's the same journalist that wrote that there was a cell phone involved that the Packers gave him," Childress said, referring to another unnamed source used by the Journal-Sentinel claiming that Brett Favre had a team-issued cell phone and drawing the conclusion that the Packers would then have the evidence to support their tampering claims against the Vikings.
But with a follow-up question, Childress flatly denied that the Vikings have heard from the Packers about trading Favre.
"Not to my knowledge," said Childress, who said he was shown the Journal-Sentinel article at 11 p.m. Sunday. "I was in a personnel meeting with Rick (Spielman, vice president of player personnel) and George Paton (director of player personnel) until 11 o'clock with the coaches. I have a pretty good idea how that went down. But you can shape the environment however you want, but we haven't had any contact with them."
The players who have been teammates with Favre were hit with questions surrounding his comeback and the rumors of the Vikings' interest in him.
"That's going to make it tougher for the guy that's in there playing quarterback because you have to look over your shoulder," safety Darren Sharper said about the possibility that Aaron Rodgers could remain the starter even with Favre reporting to Packers training camp. "You know everyone in the stands is going to be questioning, ‘Why isn't he out there?' I knew he was going to come back."
Kicker Ryan Longwell, another former Packer, said he didn't think Favre would take a reported marketing deal that would offer him $20 million to $25 million to stay retired from playing while helping the Packers' sales efforts.
"He's the ultimate competitor and loves to play the game. That's all he really wanted the whole time, another shot to play," Longwell said.
Wide receiver Robert Ferguson, another former Packer, concurred.
"He's never been a guy that's been about the money. He's just got a burning desire to play the game. I knew once he had that ultimatum, I pretty much knew that he was going to play," Ferguson said.
But Longwell admitted that the whole situation will be touchy if Favre takes the practice field with the Packers.
"We all know you can have the best team on paper or the worst team on paper and how the locker room goes, either good or bad, can (determine) a lot more than the talent level," said Longwell, who had the line of the day on the situation when asked if it was really going to be an open competition for the Packers' starting job if Favre is there.
"I just don't know if Aaron has a chance. If he completes every single pass and wins the job, when he first throws that first interception, the crowd is just going to go and do what they do. We're all going to have that time – I missed my first field goal my rookie year and he throws the first incompletion. But it's how you bounce back. I didn't have Jan Stenerud sitting on the bench when I missed it, so it's a different dynamic altogether."
Some of the former Packers who are now in purple admitted that the whole situation has the potential to be divisive in Green Bay, but Ferguson, who said Favre's comeback is good for the league, said the Vikings aren't too concerned with the situation.
"We might joke about it a little bit because it gives so much media, so much press. But we're not concerned with it at all," Ferguson said. "I wouldn't call it a distraction at all. We've got strong-minded guys, strong-willed guys."
That apparently includes Jackson.
"He's handled it fine. He's handled it well. That particular situation is out of his control," Ferguson said. "He doesn't have anything to do with that. He's just coming out here working hard."
Asked how Favre's personality would fit with the Vikings, Ferguson said, "I ain't going to get into all of that and saying, ‘What if? What if?' If if was a fifth, I'd probably be a Pro Bowler."
So Ferguson wanted to keep the conversation focusing on the facts at hand. Favre is a Packer right now, and the Vikings play the Packers for the opening game of the regular season.
"Right now, Brett's a Packer so we're preparing to play against Brett on Monday Night Football. After that, it's all speculation," he said.
And the speculation seems to get wilder by the day.
"It's the craziest thing I've ever seen," Longwell said.
Childress Denies Hearing from Packers
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