I guess three months or so is a good time to end my self-induced ESPN boycott. Particularly for something this good.
Kevin Seifert, formerly of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, recently joined ESPN and has been covering the NFC North for them. He posted a story today about the Packers and Brett Favre agreeing that Favre shouldn't show up at training camp today. The second half of the story is where things get interesting. . .so, let's break it down a bit.
Favre would not admit that the Vikings are his preferred team of choice but he confirmed he has spoken with Childress and admitted as much to both Goodell and NFL director of security Milt Alherich. The Packers filed a tampering complaint against the Vikings.
"I have never denied talking to Childress," said Favre. "I've known [Childress] for about 12 years going back to when he and Jay Norvell were assistants at Wisconsin and they used to come in and sit in our quarterback meetings. And then Brad went to Philadelphia to be with Andy Reid and, you know, Andy and I are big buddies so the relations continued.
But. . .but. . .but. . .I thought Brett Favre and Brad Childress didn't HAVE a relationship prior to this off-season! I thought that the evil, nefarious Brad Childress was simply trying to lure him out of retirement to give the Packers a hard time. At least, that's what Ted Thompson would have us believe.
'Like I told Milt and like I told the commissioner, I've spoken to Childress. I've spoken to Darrell Bevell [Vikings offensive coordinator], I've spoken to Andy Reid, I've spoken to Mike Sherman, Matt Millen, Steve Mariucci ... I've spoken to a lot of guys who are my friends and guys who have coached me, either talked to them or left messages."
Favre claims that his communications with many of those coaches, including Childress, was a matter of seeing if it was within reason to change his mind about retirement.
"I called them and asked them, 'Am I crazy? Am I wrong for pushing this? Can I still play the game? Should I let it die? I mean, I think you know what the answer is. I can still play. I said it when I retired [in March]. Now I've had a change of heart about playing but I've always known I can still play."
So. . .Favre has talked to people currently in the employ of the Philadelphia Eagles and Detroit Lions. He was also seen having dinner with the owner of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (who, incidentally, appear to be the leaders in the clubhouse to acquire Favre's services should Green Bay trade him), and I'd be willing to guess that he's talked to Mike Holmgren since he retired, too.
What? We're getting to that? Oh, okay then.
Favre said Alherich asked him point-blank if Childress or anybody with the Vikings enticed him to play again.
"I told Milt, 'No, I wasn't [enticed],'" said Favre. "I told Milt and Roger Goodell that if talking to teams is tampering, then there's about seven-to-10 teams that are guilty of tampering. But Brad isn't going to try to entice me because he knows that even if he wanted me to play there, it's not going to happen. The Packers aren't going to let that happen.
So, apparently 7 to 10 teams are actually guilty of tampering with Favre. . .but only one of those teams is worthy of having charges filed against them, and the other 6 to 9 teams can just skip merrily along, completely scot-free.
Why, yes, this makes perfect sense. At least, in Ted Thompson's world it makes perfect sense.
"So Brad and I, yeah, we talk and we exchange text messages. The Packers know that. After we beat them last year, Brad sent me a text message, teasing me how a gray-haired quarterback could still play. And the Packers were aware of that because I shared a laugh with 'em about that."
Oh, I get it. . .so the Packers KNEW that Favre had a previous relationship with Childress, and then proceeded to act like they didn't. That seems a bit curious, don't you think?
Favre adamantly denied reports that the Packers had evidence of his communications with Childress because they had the phone records from Favre's team-issued cell phone.
"That's just bogus," said Favre. "I don't have a Packers' cell phone. Never have. I told Ted [on Thursday] that he and [coach Mike] McCarthy needed to clear up this cell phone thing. I told him they needed to get in front of the media and admit that I don't have one of their cell phones. And Ted said, 'Well, I think somebody already squashed that [story].' But that isn't enough. They need to get up and admit it's ridiculous and bogus."
Well, you see Brett, that's not going to happen, largely because it would require Ted Thompson or Mike McCarthy to show some sort of testicular fortitude. . .an area that, obviously, both of those "men" are completely and totally lacking in. They would rather have someone else take the heat for their own shortcomings than take the bullet themselves.
In a way, I almost. . .almost. . .feel sorry for Brett Favre in all of this. He's spent the last few years playing for a jackass GM that's tried every trick in the book to try to ease him out of Green Bay, all while being one of the (if not THE) most beloved player in Green Bay Packers history. And, for the coup de grace, said GM decides that rather than admit that he's handled the entire situation with his quarterback incredibly badly, he decides he'd much rather give ol' Brett a nice, firm shove under the bus instead, and try to drag another franchise down into the morass with him.
(Sympathy for Favre? For crying out loud. . .I'm going to have to go watch a Disney movie or something now to cleanse my soul.)
In light of this article, I can't see any possible way that the Vikings can be found guilty of anything. They, from all accounts, haven't done anything wrong, and the Packers have absolutely, positively no proof that either the Vikings or Favre actually did anything wrong.
Hopefully, Roger Goodell will make this go away very quickly, and we can all put the blame back where it belongs. . .which is approximately 200 miles east of the Twin Cities.