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Rick Stroud, Greg Auman and Matt Baker

Favre as the Bucs' QB? It's not Favre-fetched



It's possible Brett Favre could go from Green Bay to Tampa Bay.

The Bucs are defending NFC South champions and have a playoff-caliber defense and offensive line.

Coach Jon Gruden, who loves collecting quarterbacks, was on the Packers coaching staff during Favre's first three seasons in Green Bay (1992-95). Jeff Garcia, who is also 38, is in the final year of his contract with the Bucs.

And, of course, Favre is comfortable running any version of the west coast offense.

On Friday, the Packers quarterback asked in a letter for his unconditional release from the team. He's decided to play this season and has been working out in Mississippi, throwing 50-yard 'ropes', according to one report.

If the Packers don't grant his wish, he will have to write a letter to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and ask to be reinstated. Within 24 hours, the Packers will have to make a decision to keep him on their roster or release him.

It puts the Green Bay front office and coaching staff in a tough position. Favre has won more games than any quarterback in NFL history, leading the Packers to seven division titles in 16 seasons. In the 16 seasons prior to his arrival in Green Bay, the Packers reached the playoffs just once.

After Favre's tearful news conference in March, the Packers haved prepared to move on with Aaron Rodgers at quarterback.

They made it pretty clear in a conference call Tuesday with Favre and agent Bus Cook that they want to move forward without No. 4.

But Favre felt pressured to make a decision and the competitive juices are flowing again.

Now the Packers face the possibility of facing him sometime during the season.

There are several other landing spots for Favre if he is released, a few of them in the NFC North. The Minnesota Vikings are a team that appears to have everything it needs to challenge for a Super Bowl, but quarterback Tarvaris Jackson is inexperienced. The Chicago Bears and Detroit Lions also are somewhat unsettled at quarterback.

There has been some buzz about the Carolina Panthers, but general manager Marty Hurney dismissed speculation that Favre was interested in coming to Charlotte. Redskins owner Daniel Snyder always has had stars in his eyes and quarterback Jason Campbell is still developing.

In the AFC, the Baltimore Ravens might be the most QB-needy team. The New York Jets also are a possibility.

Trading Favre would be difficult, at best. He can refuse to report because he wants his freedom. The Packers probably owe him that. But again, they risk facing him in the same division.

It's hard to imagine the Packers not taking Favre back, but it appears there are too many hard feelings.

Would Gruden and the Bucs be willing to chuck their off-season preparation with Garcia and move Favre under center?

Absolutely. There are three quarterbacks in the NFL that Gruden would do almost anything to coach: Peyton Manning, Tom Brady and Brett Favre, not necessarily in that order.

Gruden is a guy who loves staring at the back of a player's football card. And unlike when Joe Namath went to the Los Angeles Rams or Johnny Unitas mopped up in San Diego, Favre can still really play.

Favre, 38,  led the Packers to the NFC title game and passed for 4,155 yards with 28 touchdowns and 15 interceptions.

Can you imagine how much a player like Favre can energize a football team, especially one like the Bucs who have two home playoff losses in the past three seasons.    

There are a lot of executives experiencing the 'wow' factor right about now. Favre is pressing the issue with the Packers.

Maybe if he gets his freedom and looks around, he might decide not to play after all. That was the case when Dan Marino parted ways with the Miami Dolphins.

But Favre believes he deserves the chance to look around and decide for himself. The Packers probably owe him that much.


[Last modified: Wednesday, May 26, 2010 3:04pm]


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