Reports: Favre offered money by Packers to stay away

Updated: April 12, 2009, 3:19 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

Green Bay Packers president Mark Murphy traveled to Mississippi to meet with quarterback Brett Favre and his agent James "Bus" Cook on Wednesday, and multiple media outlets later reported that the team offered the quarterback substantial money to stay retired.

The Hattiesburg (Miss.) American reported on its Web site that the meeting took place at Cook's office in Hattiesburg.

Murphy left the meeting in the early evening and had no comment for reporters but issued a statement Wednesday night.

"I was in Hattiesburg today and had a nice visit with Brett Favre," the statement read. "We discussed a number of topics not related to football, including Brett's long-term relationship with the Packers. I consider our conversation to be confidential and am going to be respectful of Brett and his family and keep the details private. "[General manager] Ted [Thompson] and [coach] Mike [McCarthy] are going to continue to work on the football side of this issue. They have my full support."

WTMJ television in Milwaukee reported that the team offered Favre in the neighborhood of $20 million over several years to stay retired. The Green Bay Press-Gazette reported on its Web site that the team offered Favre "a substantial salary" to stay away. Both reports cited sources close to Favre. But signs still point to the quarterback reporting to Packers camp.

After the meeting, Cook was asked by the media if Favre could be back in Green Bay by Friday and he said that was a good possibility.

"He would love to go back in Green Bay," Cook said, in comments broadcast by ESPNEWS. "I mean, that's why he started working out. But right now, it looks like he'll be the quarterback at Oak Grove High School." He added, however, that commissioner Roger Goodell still had not activated Favre.

A league source told ESPN's Chris Mortensen on Wednesday night that Goodell hopes to speak with Favre on Thursday before he decides to reinstate him.

Favre worked out with the Oak Grove High School football team before heading to the meeting. "I'm late for a 9 o'clock meeting and I'm not lying," he told reporters when the workout ended, according to the report.

He was seen leaving the office at about 1:30 p.m. ET.

"Why don't y'all get in the shade?" Favre told members of the media before he drove off.

Mortensen reported earlier Wednesday that Goodell was unlikely to rule on Favre's request for reinstatement Wednesday in order to give the sides more time to work out an agreement on the quarterback's future.

"The commissioner is taking no action today," the NFL said in a statement Wednesday. "He wants to give both the Packers and Brett an appropriate amount of time to make decisions, including decisions impacting the team's roster and salary cap. When Brett is reinstated by the commissioner, we will announce it."

About 1,000 miles north in Green Bay, McCarthy said Favre reporting to camp might be less of a distraction.

"It's to the point where I think it's better for myself and better for the football team: It's time for me to coach the football team," McCarthy said late Wednesday. "I can't concern myself with the day-to-day, blow-by-blow things that go on outside of the preparation of the team. So if he comes in here, he'll be one of 80 and I will coach him accordingly."

The Press-Gazette reported on its Web site Tuesday night that Murphy flew to Mississippi in hopes of talking Favre out of reporting to camp, a situation with the potential to cause a major distraction to a team that committed to moving on after Favre retired in March. Murphy declined comment to a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reporter at the Green Bay airport before his flight left Tuesday night.

Nearly five months after his tearful retirement news conference in March, Favre filed for reinstatement with the NFL on Tuesday. He is awaiting approval from Goodell.

Once he is reinstated, a step considered a formality, the Packers will have 24 hours to decide whether to release him or return him to their active roster. The team has ruled out releasing Favre, fearing he would immediately sign with division rival Minnesota.

The Packers also could trade Favre, although no deal appeared imminent. The Packers hold Favre's rights until his contract expires after the 2010 season.

Despite the apparent nature of Murphy's trip, McCarthy reiterated Wednesday that Favre "absolutely" was still welcome in Packers camp. Team officials have made it clear, both publicly and to Favre, that he would no longer be the starter if he returned to the team.

"I've said it, and I'll just say it again: He was a big part of our history, and he can reinstate, come here and be part of our future," McCarthy said.

McCarthy acknowledged that the ongoing Favre saga puts Aaron Rodgers in a unique situation, but said Rodgers is handling the situation well. Rodgers has been solid in his first few days of camp, although the Packers' defense seems to be ahead of the offense.

Packers defensive end Aaron Kampman, a close friend of Rodgers and the quarterback's roommate in training camp, said Rodgers is a "tough guy" who will only get tougher under scrutiny.

"He's a grown man," Kampman said. "He's handling it very well. He's done tremendous. I think he continues to validate he's got some special stuff inside of him."

Information from The Associated Press contributed to this report.