Report: Murphy, Harlan believe Favre will stay retired

Updated: July 9, 2008, 1:50 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

The current and former team presidents of the Green Bay Packers both believe that Brett Favre will remain retired, rather than come back for a hinted-at 18th season in the NFL, the Green Bay Press-Gazette reported.

Kids Grill McCarthy

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Packers coach Mike McCarthy was grilled about rumors of a Brett Favre comeback Wednesday -- not by the media, but by kids at the Boys & Girls Club of Green Bay.

On hand to announce a $100,000 donation, McCarthy was asked by 11-year old Miranda Black of Oconto Falls the biggest question in the state: Is Favre coming back?

McCarthy politely punted, saying such questions would be addressed later.

After McCarthy dodged a few more questions about Favre, one child asked the coach if he would sign their T-shirts.

"Sure," he joked. "It's better than answering these questions."

-- The Associated Press

Current team president and CEO Mark Murphy and chairman emeritus Bob Harlan, appearing at a charity auction in Fond Du Lac, Wis., as part of the team's "Tailgate Tour" through the state, said they took Favre at his word when he said in March that he was done with professional football.

"I keep going back to his retirement announcement and how sincere and heartfelt that was," Murphy said, according to the report. "I think it's pretty reasonable that, as an organization, we're going to move on."

"What I remember about him is he was ready to retire, and that's how I feel today," Harlan added, according to the newspaper. "I think down deep, that's exactly how he feels."

The Packers have yet to publicly address reports that Favre, who announced his retirement on March 6, again has "the itch" to play football.

Presumptive starting Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers didn't have much to say Wednesday morning on Favre's possible comeback.

Speaking on a conference call to promote his participation in a celebrity golf tournament, Rodgers said: "I'm not really going to speculate about any rumors that are out there."

Rodgers also said he hasn't spoken to Favre about a possible comeback.

ESPN's Chris Mortensen reported last week that Favre had communicated his potential desire to return to coach Mike McCarthy, but that talks had not advanced to a substantive stage. And a Milwaukee television station reported that Favre and Packers GM Ted Thompson had exchanged text messages, with Thompson saying he would talk with Favre once he returned from a vacation.

Favre has not publicly commented on the speculation, other than telling the Sun Herald of Biloxi, Miss., that "it's all rumor" and that there was "no reason" for a media frenzy.

But Packers players and officials have fielded plenty of questions about Favre's potential return.

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"We've had 5-year-old kids ask us about it," Murphy said, according to the Press-Gazette. "It's obviously on a lot of people's minds."

Neither Murphy nor Harlan has spoken with Favre since the latest round of speculation began, according to the report. But both men believe Favre's mind is not yet made up.

"No player leaves the game gracefully," Murphy said, according to the newspaper. "It's kind of the nature of what makes great players great, is they're competitors and they always want to compete and they want that next challenge, and it's hard to find that next thing that's going to give you that excitement and adrenaline. That's what we're seeing a little bit here."

Harlan, Murphy's predecessor as team president, agreed.

"It's tough to any competitor to walk away," Harlan said, according to the report. "Whether you talk [golfer] Jack Nicklaus or no matter who it is, when you've been at the top, it's tough to turn your back on it, so I'm not surprised at all. I think you'd almost be more surprised if it were the other way."

Information from ESPN.com's Kevin Seifert was used in this report.

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