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Favre distractions wear thin on Pack

Favre distractions wear thin on Pack

Posted: Wednesday, August 6, 2008 4:21 pm
By: By CHRIS JENKINS, AP Sports Writer

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Fans chanting “Bring Back Brett!” distracted them during practice on Tuesday.
Well before that, the constant media questions were wearing thin on them.
Green Bay Packers players have had it up to here with the Brett Favre saga.
And as Favre Fatigue sets in, they’re sending a clear message to the team’s front office:
Solve it.
“It’s time for it to be over,” cornerback Charles Woodson told media members. “It’s gone on long enough.”
As the league’s longest-running daytime drama continues to twist and turn, Woodson and other veteran Packers players aren’t publicly assessing blame or taking sides.
They just don’t want to talk or think about it any more during this preseason.
“For them to keep us in the dark and just have us answering a bunch of questions that we can’t possibly have a good answer for, I don’t think it’s fair to us,” Woodson said. “I think there needs to be something said, yea or nay for Brett Favre.”
That answer — a resounding “nay” — came Tuesday evening, when Packers coach Mike McCarthy told reporters that after extensive conversations with Favre over the past two days, he has determined that Favre doesn’t have the right mindset to play for the Packers at this time.
Still, the issue will linger until there is a final resolution.
That most likely would be a trade, perhaps to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, something that appeared to be simmering but not imminent as of late Tuesday evening.
So the questions kept coming, and the players kept sighing in response.
“It’s to the point now, man, we’re tired of it here in the locker room, just hearing about it,” Packers’ cornerback Al Harris commented. “Hopefully they get something done upstairs and they can answer these questions instead of the questions coming to us.”
McCarthy has praised his players’ ability to stay focused throughout the team’s showdown with Favre, but acknowledged Tuesday that it could take a toll on the team.
“We have an excellent opportunity here to be a very good football team in 2008,” McCarthy said. “We’ve had an extraordinary challenge dealing with this situation, a lot can be learned from it, but they definitely want this thing resolved as soon as possible.”
Wide receiver Greg Jennings admitted the zoo-like atmosphere at practice — with fans chanting for Favre and against general manager Ted Thompson — was a distraction during training camp.
Just like everything else in this ugly, omnipresent mess.
“When it’s in your face, like this, how do you avoid it? How do you not allow it to be in the back of your head? You can’t,” Jennings said. “You’re thinking about it. Everybody’s in here thinking about it, and we just don’t know what the next move’s going to be.”
The next move might not be apparent, but it’s clear that bond between Favre and the Packers appears to be broken beyond repair and that Favre may have put on his Green Bay jersey for the final time last season.
After approximately six hours of what McCarthy called “brutally honest” conversations with Favre over the past two days, McCarthy said Favre couldn’t seem to get past emotional wounds that were opened as tensions mounted in recent weeks — even with the chance to win his starting job back potentially on the table.
“The train has left the station, whatever analogy you want,” McCarthy said at a news conference Tuesday afternoon. “He needs to jump on the train and let’s go. Or, if we can’t get past things that have happened, I have to keep the train moving.”
Favre left Lambeau Field just before Packers practice Tuesday afternoon, taking a right turn out of the stadium’s back gate and heading away from the practice field.
Shortly after, an SUV driven by Packers general manager Ted Thompson left the gate heading in the same direction.
“We’re at a stalemate,” Favre told ESPN Tuesday morning.
Favre told ESPN he doesn’t have a problem with competing with Aaron Rodgers for the starting job, and can “truly understand” why McCarthy would make Rodgers the starting quarterback.
But Favre also went on to say that a competition “probably isn’t going to work” and that “the problem is that there’s been a lot of damage done and I can’t forget it.”
Did Favre not feel wanted or welcome enough by the Packers?
“That’s part of the issue with him, quite frankly,” McCarthy said. “And listening to him talk about that, you respect his opinion. And frankly, I told him, I said, ‘I’ll take responsibility because I have a voice in the building.’ I never thought he truly was going to play. I thought he was emotionally driven for other reasons.”
Favre finally has convinced McCarthy he wants to play.
But McCarthy still seems to have reservations about Favre’s commitment to preparing for games.
And McCarthy didn’t seem convinced that Favre was thinking clearly about his future on the gridiron during the discussions they had.
“He has a lot going through his head, and I think he’s emotional,” McCarthy said. “And just talking to him, he’s in a tough spot.”
So, of course, are McCarthy and Thompson. Correctly or not, they might end up being seen by fans as the men who drove Favre out of Green Bay.
“That’s not a good feeling, but I don’t view it that way,” McCarthy said. “I can only trust the truth. I’ve been part of a lot of conversations, and I don’t feel that’s the case.”


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