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Favre saga could end with him back where he started

LAKE BUENA VISTA — It's fun for Jets fans to imagine Brett Favre as a member of Gang Green.

Consider how many No. 4 jerseys he would sell in Tampa Bay.

But before Favre's name is stitched across the back of a new uniform, a trade with the Packers might be impossible to sew up.

That's because Favre could have trouble seeing himself playing for any team other than the Packers.

He has told Green Bay officials that he intends to report to training camp today in De Pere, Wis. A team meeting is scheduled for 7 a.m.

But as of late Saturday, Favre had not applied for reinstatement to the NFL.

Packers coach Mike McCarthy reiterated that his team is ready to move forward with Aaron Rodgers at quarterback whether Favre shows up or not.

Meanwhile, general manager Ted Thompson has been busy drumming up interest in a trade for Favre to avoid the potential circus atmosphere.

The Jets reportedly have been given permission to talk to Favre and the Bucs have expressed an interest.

Bucs coach Jon Gruden still refused to slam the door on the Favre talk Saturday, but he seemed ready to start closing it.

"We're creating a real drama here," he said. "I don't know that it's that tear-jerking that we need to keep addressing it."

Gruden said he spoke Friday night with starter Jeff Garcia, who is at a weekend reunion for a junior college national title team coached by his dad in Gilroy, Calif. He wouldn't disclose details of their conversation, except to say that Garcia remains confident he is the best man for the job.

"What we talk about is confidential," Gruden said. "But he's very confident in his own abilities. I think his game tape from his last 20 starts proves it. He's eager to get in here with his teammates and compete."

While Favre might have trouble switching teams, it's equally hard for him to imagine serving as a backup to Rodgers, who has never started an NFL game.

But allowing Favre to report could immediately split the locker room and prevent the young Packers quarterback from succeeding.

McCarthy admits having Favre in camp would create more than a few distractions.

"It would be a challenge, there's no doubt about it," he said. "But it's a new challenge and a new year. (It's) different than I personally have ever experienced, but it's something that I can promise you we'll have a plan for and will be dealt with directly."

Favre has to understand that he's not really welcomed back by the Packers. And Green Bay is not going to release him for fear he would sign with Minnesota or some other NFC North team.

The Packers have indicated they want a first-round pick for Favre, but it's only a starting point. No team is giving that much up for a 38-year-old quarterback who might play just one season — not even one with Favre's credentials.

With each passing day, Favre's value to another team will be diminished. He would have to learn a new offense. He would have to play with new teammates.

In the end, the path Favre takes might be the one the Packers wanted all along.

He might stay retired.

Favre saga could end with him back where he started 07/26/08 [Last modified: Monday, July 28, 2008 4:44pm]
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