Sources: Jets can talk to Packers; Favre ready to report

Updated: July 26, 2008, 12:50 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

The New York Jets and Tampa Bay Buccaneers have expressed interest in retired Green Bay Packers quarterback Brett Favre -- and the Jets have received permission to talk to him, a source told ESPN's Chris Mortensen on Friday.

Also Friday, a Packers source told Mortensen that Favre informed Packers general manager Ted Thompson by phone on Thursday that he was planning to report to the team's training camp this weekend.

The Bucs have not talked to Favre and have not asked for permission to talk him, league sources told ESPN's Sal Paolantonio on Saturday afternoon.

Favre, who retired in April, hasn't made a decision on whether to send in his reinstatement letter but would need to do so in order to report to camp. He had not filed his papers for reinstatement as of Saturday morning, league sources told Paolantonio.

NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy told ESPN's Paolantonio in an e-mail: "Favre was put on the reserve/retired list. A player who is put on that list has to file paperwork or make it known to the league that he is retired. That's what #4 did by virtue of his very public retirement press conference months ago.

"To get off that list, a player must file paperwork to be considered for reinstatement."

Favre has asked to be released from his contract and is aware of the Jets' and Bucs' interest, the source said. The Packers have no intention of releasing Favre from his contract, which expires after the 2010 season.

At training camp on Friday, Jets coach Eric Mangini did not deny that the Jets have been given permission to talk to Favre.

"With all discussions, those things are internal and that really hasn't changed," Mangini said, adding that he and Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum talk every night about "a lot of different things" but always keep them internal.

Mangini reiterated that he was happy with the team's top quarterbacks, Chad Pennington and Kellen Clemens.

"I feel the same way as I felt yesterday and nothing's changed," Mangini said. "With any conversations me and Mike have, Mike likes to talk about a lot of different scenarios and he enjoys a good chart, he enjoys a good graph and he enjoys a lot of scenarios. That's what he does, and that's what he's supposed to do.

"So, just normal discussions that we always have."

Pennington, meanwhile, said Friday that Tannenbaum told him the team has talked to the Packers about Favre. It didn't sound as though Tannenbaum assured Pennington that the Jets aren't interested.

"Bottom line, an organization has to take a look at every player available in this league. Period," Pennington said. "A general manager and a head coach is going to do everything they can do to make their team as good as they can make it. That's their job."

Tannenbaum would not confirm conversations with the Packers.

Pennington, who already is competing with Clemens for the starting job in Jets camp, said he wasn't overreacting to the Jets' potential trade for Favre.

"My whole focus is on this camp," Pennington said. "Winning this starting quarterback battle, so I don't really have any thoughts. It's part of the business: speculation, calls, one organization calling another about players. There's nothing to be said. As a player, you never react until it's actually done."

At Bucccaneers camp in Celebration, Fla., Tampa Bay coach Jon Gruden -- who was once Favre's quarterback coach in Green Bay -- attempted to sidestep the issue and support his current starter, Jeff Garcia.

"I'm never going to be a guy who puts his foot down and says we're going to do this," Gruden said, according to media reports. "But as I sit here today, Jeff Garcia is our quarterback. I don't know what Green Bay is doing. I don't know what Brett Favre is doing, and my cell phone proves that.

"You're talking about one of the great quarterbacks, and last time I checked he was a Green Bay Packer. And he probably will be to the end of his career," Gruden said.

A league source familiar with the Packers told ESPN's Michael Smith that the Packers are asking for a first-round pick in exchange for Favre in conversations with potential trade partners. The same source added that no team is likely to meet that asking price.

The Packers made phone calls Tuesday to several teams after being encouraged by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell to resolve the controversy surrounding Favre before camp opens, according to league and players' union sources.

Green Bay, which has committed to Aaron Rodgers as its quarterback of the future, wants to keep Favre away from its NFC North rivals -- especially the Minnesota Vikings.

Goodell has been briefed by Thompson on the status of the team's approach with Favre. Goodell has encouraged the Packers to accelerate that process by surveying teams around the league to determine if there is a trade partner, sources said.

Goodell also has spoken with Favre, the sources said, telling the veteran passer that he was willing to assist in the process, if necessary.

Several teams in the AFC and NFC confirmed they have been contacted by the Packers.

On Thursday, at the Packers' annual shareholders meeting, team president and CEO Mark Murphy hinted at the possibility of Favre playing for another team by conjuring the image of Joe Montana in a Kansas City Chiefs uniform.

"We want to have positive feelings about Brett and the Packers, and we want him to continue to be a part of the Packer family," Murphy said. "I think the way this is handled will be important in terms of how that plays out in the future. But I'm also cognizant of some of the things that have happened in the past with Joe Montana ending his career with the Chiefs, now you look back on it, most people might not remember that he played with the Chiefs. They remember he was a 49er."

Meanwhile, on the heels of a report that said Favre had used a team-issued phone to contact the Vikings, the player's agent confirmed a subsequent Green Bay Post-Gazette report that said the story was unfounded.

"I promise you the Green Bay Packers have never provided or paid for a cell phone for Brett Favre. That is completely erroneous," James "Bus" Cook told ESPN's Mortensen.

Information from ESPN reporters Chris Mortensen and Sal Paolantonio and The Associated Press was used in this report.