QB could miss practices for funeral
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- For the second time in less than a year, Brett Favre is dealing with a death in the family.
Favre's brother-in-law died after crashing an all-terrain vehicle on the player's property in Sumrall, Miss., on Wednesday night. Casey Tynes, 24, the brother of Favre's wife, Deanna, was riding the ATV without a helmet when it flipped, Lamar County Sheriff Danny Rigel said.
Favre, recovering from a mild concussion, practiced Thursday for the first time this week, "but he just wasn't himself," offensive coordinator Tom Rossley said. "It's been a tough week for him."
Last December, Favre's father, Irv, died of a heart attack just before Christmas. Twenty-four hours later, he threw for 399 yards and four touchdowns in a crucial 41-7 win at Oakland.
"When something like this happens, everyone comes together," receiver Donald Driver said. "We have to get behind him again."
The Packers face Tennessee on Monday night in a matchup of dispirited 1-3 teams.
Favre hasn't missed a start since becoming the Packers' starter more than 12 years ago. Counting playoffs, he's started 212 consecutive games. It's the longest streak for a quarterback in NFL history.
Funeral arrangements are pending, but the Packers said Favre might miss practice Saturday and possibly the walkthrough on Sunday to fly to Mississippi.
Favre is also dealing with the losses of his Pro Bowl center, Mike Flanagan, who underwent knee surgery Thursday that he hopes can salvage his career, and backup QB Doug Pederson, who went on injured reserve Thursday with a broken rib and a torn muscle and broken bone in his back.
Craig Nall was elevated to the No. 2 quarterback and will fill in for Favre during his absence this weekend.
The team is also trying to solidify Favre's protection, and it's not an easy task without Flanagan, whose replacement, Grey Ruegamer, had a distressing debut Sunday in the Packers' loss to the Giants.
He went the wrong way on a running play on his fourth snap, resulting in a 4-yard loss for Ahman Green, committed two penalties for 25 yards and, most disturbing of all, allowed defensive tackle William Joseph to put the hit on Favre that knocked him out of the game.
"It's going to take him a little bit of time to blend in and feel comfortable," Rossley said. "Maybe he was a little nervous, I don't know."
Ruegamer refused to look back on his poor performance.
"Well, I wasn't happy with the way it went, but that was Sunday. We're on to the Titans," Ruegamer said. "I'm not going to dwell on last week. I think everybody knows what happened."
The Packers already had a huge hole in their defensive line with the absence of 350-pound nose tackle Grady Jackson (knee), and now they have a big void on their offensive line, too.
"Mike is, he's in the apex right there," coach Mike Sherman said. "He's involved in every play, every call that we've made from a schematic standpoint. He's a valuable player, so I can't say that we didn't miss him. But we certainly should have functioned better than we did."
The savvy, athletic Flanagan was the best player on what many consider the best offensive line in the NFL.
"It's a big loss to us, but it's not the end of the season or the end of the world," Favre said. "I mean, we have to go on and Ruegie is young, he's a hard worker. Athletically, he is not as gifted as Flanny, but he does possess more power and size. I feel comfortable he will make the calls and he will get better each week.
"He knows and I think the rest of our team knows Grey is not Flanny," he added. "But that doesn't mean he cannot turn out to be a very good player. I like his work ethic. He's a bright guy. And he does have some ability."
Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press
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