Favre dismisses comeback reports as just rumors
Posted: Thursday, July 3, 2008 5:19 pm
GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Brett Favre dismissed an ESPN report that he’s considering coming out of retirement as “all rumor.”
Favre responded Wednesday to the ESPN report by telling his hometown newspaper Web site, SunHerald.com in Gulfport, Miss., that “it’s all rumor.”
The paper reported that Favre sent a text message saying there’s “no reason” for a media frenzy about the speculated comeback.
ESPN reported that an unidentified Packers source said the 38-year-old Favre told coach Mike McCarthy in the past two weeks that he has the itch to play this year.
“The Packers have no reaction,” team spokesman Jeff Blumb told The Associated Press.
Favre’s agent, James “Bus” Cook, didn’t return a message seeking comment.
Packers general manager Ted Thompson and McCarthy were on vacation.
Favre retired March 6 after a 17-year career.
Cornerback Al Harris said on ESPN’s “NFL Live” that Favre has made similar comments to him.
“I know he has the itch to come back and play,” Harris said. “If he will or not, I don’t know.”
The Packers plan to use Aaron Rodgers as their starting quarterback for the upcoming season, and he’s been leading the team through organized team activities and minicamp while preparing to fill Favre’s big shoes.
Rodgers has been groomed to take over for Favre since being selected in the first round in 2005, but has only played sparingly.
“Aaron is our quarterback,” Harris said. “Brett’s retired. But if he wanted to come back, there would be some guys who wouldn’t mind it. I would welcome him back with open arms.”
Favre has two years left on his contract at an average of about $12.5 million per season.
The Packers placed him on the reserve-retired list in the spring so his salary does not now count toward the cap and penalize the team.
Favre’s commitment to retirement has been questioned since his announcement.
That talk resumed in mid-June when Favre withdrew from the American Century Celebrity Golf Championship at Lake Tahoe, scheduled for July 11-13.
Tournament spokesman Steve Griffith said then that Favre had to miss the event because of a scheduling conflict.
When he retired, a teary Favre said, “I’ve given everything I possibly could give to this organization, the game of football, and I don’t think I’ve got anything left to give. And that’s it. I know I can play. But I don’t think I want to.”
But less than two months later, he told reporters he might be open to returning if Rodgers was injured at any point through the preaseason.
Favre, a three-time MVP, leads the league with 442 touchdown passes, 61,655 yards passing and 160 career victories.
He started 253 consecutive regular-season games, more than any other quarterback in history.
Including the playoffs, his streak currently stands at 275 starts.
Rodgers, meanwhile, has stirred up controversy himself this week by opening his mouth to the media.
In a Sports Illustrated article, the quarterback said he didn’t feel pressure to connect with fans the way that Favre did during his career.
“I don’t feel I need to sell myself to the fans,” he said in the article. “They need to get on board now or keep their mouths shut.”
Whether or not the fans in Green Bay do get on board with Rodgers or choose to stay with the trust Brett Favre vehicle remains to be seen.