Let me preface this by saying that I do like the Packers. They are not my favorite team by any stretch of the imagination, but I do like them. For those of you that have been living under a rock for the last year or so, let me catch you up to speed:
List of Players:
Brett Favre – 2007 Green Bay Packers QB
Ted Thompson – Green Bay Packers General Manager
Mike McCarthy – Green Bay Packers Head Coach
James Campen – Green Bay Packers Offensive Line Coach
Bus Cook – Brett Favre’s Agent
— Week of Jan. 22: After the Packers’ overtime loss to the New York Giants in the NFC Championship game, McCarthy tells Favre they hope to take a similar approach to his retirement decision as in the past, allowing Favre plenty of time to make his decision. They agree to talk regularly.
— Feb. 22: Thompson calls Favre after getting word that Favre was upset Thompson hadn’t called him in a while. According to Thompson, Favre said, “Well, I don’t know where that’s coming from. That doesn’t come from me. I’m fine with it.” Thompson said he reassures Favre: “You know that Mike and me, we still think you can play, you’re still our guy.”
— Feb. 29: The beginning of free agency, the Packers’ original target date for Favre’s decision. “He told me that day, he said, ‘Hey, if I needed to make a decision today, I would retire,”‘ McCarthy said. “I said, ‘Whoa, whoa, whoa. It’s not that important. Ted and I have talked about it over and over again as far as, you’re the priority and we didn’t need to stick to that date. So you need more time? Sure. How much time do you need? He said, ‘I’ll tell you what. (Wife) Deanna and I are going to sit down this weekend, why don’t you call me Monday?”‘
— March 3: McCarthy travels to Austin, Texas, for his daughter’s high school basketball banquet. At this point, McCarthy isn’t worried.
“We thought for sure he was going to come back,” McCarthy said. “I thought he was working, just going through the process, and he needed more time.”
But Favre surprises McCarthy by calling and saying he “can not commit 100 percent” to football and is going to retire. McCarthy says he offers Favre the chance to return with a guarantee that he wouldn’t have to take as many repetitions in practice.
No deal. McCarthy travels back to Green Bay and the Packers announce Favre’s retirement decision March 4.
— March 6: Favre’s tearful press conference. McCarthy says he is surprised at how honest Favre is about the reasons behind his decision—particularly about not being able to commit 100 percent to football.
— Week of March 24: During the coaching staff’s spring break, Packers offensive line coach James Campen, whose in-laws live in New Orleans, goes up to visit Favre in Mississippi on March 26. On the 27th, Campen tells McCarthy that Favre is having second thoughts and McCarthy should call him.
McCarthy does, and learns that Favre indeed is having second thoughts. McCarthy and Thompson decide they will welcome him back. They secure a private jet from a Packers board member to visit Favre in person and seal the deal.
— March 29: Favre calls McCarthy to deliver a message: Thanks, but no thanks.
“He felt at this point we had reached a point of closure,” McCarthy said. “Those were his words. And he was going to stick with his initial decision.”
— McCarthy talks to Favre again the week of April 7 and April 14 and on April 24. On the 24th, McCarthy explains the team’s decision to place Favre on the reserve/retired list.
— April 26/27: The Green bay Packers select QB’s Brian Brohm (Louisville) in the 2nd Round and Matt Flynn (LSU) in the 7th Round.
— May 6: With the NFL draft out of the way, Thompson visits Favre in Mississippi and has lunch on his back porch. Thompson says they have a “good conversation,” but don’t spend too much time talking about the idea that he might be having second thoughts.
“We didn’t talk specifically about it,” Thompson says. “But he mentioned several things where there was always indecisiveness, or he was wondering if he made the right decision. I think that’s normal.”
— June 7: During a staff retreat in Kohler, Wis., Campen says he’s worried about Favre. McCarthy tells Campen to go to Mississippi—not as an official team intermediary, but as Favre’s friend.
— June 16-20: Acting on Campen’s advice, McCarthy calls Favre. They play phone tag for a few days but eventually connect. “You and Ted need to have a plan if I do come back,” Favre says, according to McCarthy. “Either give me my helmet or give me my release.”
At that point, McCarthy asks Favre if he was 100 percent committed to a return. “He said, ‘No, no, I’m not saying I’m there yet.”‘
— June 20-early July: Favre and Campen talk regularly, and Favre’s agent, Bus Cook, begins passing messages to the team through Campen. “James was put in a tough spot, and I think he’s totally been wrongly illustrated in this,” McCarthy said.
— July 4: Favre sends a text message to Thompson, who responds by saying he is traveling and asks if they can talk Monday. Cook begins texting Thompson, and a conference call is arranged.
— July 8: A conference call is scheduled involving Favre, Cook, Thompson, McCarthy and Russ Ball, the team’s VP of football administration/player finance, to discuss Favre’s request for a release. McCarthy asks Favre if he is 100 percent committed to football—and for the first time throughout the entire offseason, Favre says yes.
“We’re trying to be as respectful to him and his legacy as possible, but that’s an important piece of the puzzle,” McCarthy said. “As an organization, Ted and I, that’s the first time any communication to us was, he was committed to play.”
The Packers then receive a letter from Cook requesting his release.
“That brings us to where we are, which is a very difficult situation,” Thompson said.
Okay, with all that said and done, the Green Bay Packers are going to put this next season on the shoulders of Aaron Rodgers, who has been riding mostly pine since 2005. Sure he has gotten into most games to clean up when the Packers are way ahead, but Rodgers is no Brett Favre. He did do a respectable job against the Cowboys this last season, where he went 18 for 26, with 201 yards passing and a TD. Those are first half stat numbers for a guy like Brett Favre.
Career Stats: Att. Comp. Yards Int. TD
Brett Favre 8758 5377 61655 288 442
Aaron Rodgers 59 35 329 1 1
I know everyone has to start somewhere and I could see the Green Bay Packers dumping Favre if he didn’t have it anymore and was past his prime, but he still does have it and he proved that in 2007.
The management of the Packers needs to wake up and smell the coffee!! Now that Favre has finally decided to play (by sending his reinstatement letter to the NFL), they need to get him back where he belongs, behind the starting Packers center. If Favre is so washed up in the eyes of Green Bay management or they are tired of his antics or whatever the case may be, then give him his release and let him be. But they won’t, because they are so image concious, that they don’t want to see number 4 running out of the Vikings tunnel this year and lay a whipping on them and Aaron Rodgers. Then they would have to answer to the toughest skeptics of all – The Green Bay Packer Fans!!!
Let’s talk about Ryan Grant. The 25 year old breakout running back for the Packers in 2007. Green Bay management offered Grant a base salary of $370,000 for the next 6 years, along with a $1.75 million signing bonus. This for a guy who played hurt and ran his guts out for this team and helped carry them all the way to the NFC Championship game. Give me a break, they offered Brady Poppinga, their outside linebacker, who only made 50 tackles all last year, had no sacks and no forced fumbles, a 4 year contract extension, which is reported to be woth approximately $16 million, plus a $3 million signing bonus.
The Green Bay management better pull their heads out quick or they are going to end up like the 1999 Denver Broncos (6-10).