NFL puts off Favre reinstatement; Pack might consider NFC North deal
"The Packers and Brett Favre are continuing their discussions," the league said in a statement. "The commissioner preferred to let those discussions continue rather than act on the reinstatement petition today."
Once Favre is reinstated, the Packers will have 24 hours to decide whether to cut him or restore him to their active roster. By not acting Thursday, Goodell decreased the chances Favre would be present at Packers training camp Friday.
Favre also could be traded -- apparently even to a division rival.
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported Thursday that Packers officials have had internal discussions about trading Favre to the Minnesota Vikings or Chicago Bears as a "last resort" to resolve the smoldering controversy.
Meanwhile, the Green Bay Press-Gazette is reporting on Thursday that the Packers are also talking seriously about a trade that could send Favre to the New York Jets.
The newspaper, citing a source close to the situation, says that Favre's agent, Bus Cook, has been in talks with the Jets. Cook's involvement in the discussions suggests that the veteran quarterback, who must approve any trade, is at least considering the idea.
Packers general manager Ted Thompson said earlier this week that he would not consider trading Favre to one of Green Bay's NFC North division rivals.
But with Favre poised for reinstatement and potentially ready to show up in Green Bay on Friday to turn training camp into a circus, team officials might be willing to do just about anything. There were multiple reports Wednesday night that the team had offered to pay Favre up to $20 million to stay retired.
Thompson and other Packers officials did not immediately return telephone messages left by The Associated Press. The Packers did not have a public practice or media availability scheduled Thursday.
Favre, meanwhile, apparently didn't board a chartered flight from Mississippi to Green Bay following Goodell's decision to put off reinstatement, several media outlets reported.
According to two sources, the plane had been reserved to bring Favre to Green Bay on Thursday night. The Press-Gazette, citing a source, said the private flight from Hattiesburg, Miss., to Green Bay was delayed several times and then reportedly canceled.
But Favre had apparently not informed Packers management whether he intends to report to training camp, and a source close to the discussions indicated the trip could still be aborted if there is some kind of breakthrough in the negotiations, Werder reported. "There is still a lot of time left in the day,'' the source said.
The Packers are committed to Aaron Rodgers as their quarterback of the future and are not considering Favre, who tearfully retired March 6, returning to Green Bay as the starter.
An NFL source said he understood from the Packers that trading within the NFC North would be a last resort, according to the report. And the Packers are still trying to convince Favre to consider trade possibilities with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and New York Jets.
But while the Packers continue to try to buy themselves more time to deal, Favre has yet to talk to either team.
Team president Mark Murphy traveled to Hattiesburg to meet with 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.
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.
According to a source close to Favre, the Packers have told him they might limit him to individual drills if he shows up at training camp, the Press-Gazette reported.
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."
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." Favre worked out with the school's football team on Wednesday before the meeting.
A league source told ESPN's Chris Mortensen on Wednesday night that NFL commissioner Roger Goodell hopes to speak with Favre on Thursday before he decides to reinstate him.
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."
ESPN's Ed Werder and Chris Mortensen and The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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BRETT FAVRE SAGA: OVER
After pushing and pushing to keep playing either in Green Bay or elsewhere, Brett Favre's storied career will continue in 2008. The unretired quarterback has been traded by the Packers to the Jets.
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