NFL reinstatement delayed again as Favre mulls Packers' $20M offer
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Brett Favre's reinstatement to the NFL was still on hold Saturday as the three-time MVP mulled getting paid not to play through a marketing deal with the Green Bay Packers that could resolve the standoff over his retirement.
The potential agreement, worth a reported $25 million over 10 years, might end Favre's bid to return just months after retiring. It also would likely keep him from reporting to Packers training camp and a team that is not planning to start him at quarterback for the first time since 1992.
But there were indications that Favre was wavering on the offer.
A source close to the negotiations told ESPN's Ed Werder on Saturday that Favre has developed misgivings about the proposed deal because it fails to accomplish his primary objective in deciding to unretire -- namely, it would not put him back on the football field.
After talking to Packers president Mark Murphy about the non-playing marketing deal Wednesday, Favre confirmed to Werder that he was actively weighing it.
Packers coach Mike McCarthy made it clear Friday that, from the team's perspective, the agreement would be more than a buyout to make an awkward situation go away.
McCarthy said the potential contract could benefit Favre and the team. More importantly, it also could resolve their standoff over Favre's retirement. The deal has apparently been in the works for months. McCarthy first heard about it at Favre's retirement news conference in March.
"Brett needs to stay a part of football," McCarthy said after practice in Green Bay on Friday morning. "Obviously, he's a part of the Green Bay Packers. This is really something that's been out there all along."
Meanwhile, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell sat on Favre's reinstatement letter for the fourth straight day, giving the two sides more time to resolve the situation.
"The commissioner will take no action today on Brett Favre's reinstatement request. Discussions are continuing between the Packers and Brett," league officials said in a statement issued by NFL spokesman Greg Aiello.
Despite Favre's tearful farewell to football, he now is considering a comeback.
The problem is that Green Bay hasn't been eager to bring him back, with Aaron Rodgers taking over the starter's role. The Packers also don't want to release Favre, suspecting he would immediately sign with division rival Minnesota.
The Packers hold Favre's rights until his current contract expires after the 2010 season.
Tensions have built between Favre and the team over the past several weeks. Earlier this week, Favre sent a letter to Goodell requesting to be reinstated from the team's reserve/retired list.
But Goodell has held off approving the request, hoping the two sides could resolve their differences. Murphy flew to Mississippi to meet with Favre and his agent, James "Bus" Cook, on Wednesday. That meeting apparently rekindled talks about the marketing agreement.
Favre said in a text message to Werder Thursday night that the marketing deal might be the best idea.
"There isn't a perfect solution to this, but [Packers president] Mark Murphy is at least trying," Favre told ESPN. "We know what they want and where I stand. His solution, although awkward and unsettling for most, may be the best in the end.''
Packers linebacker A.J. Hawk chuckled at the thought of being paid $20 million not to play.
"You could hand me a billion dollars, and I'm still going to be on the field," Hawk said. "It doesn't matter to me. But everyone has different situations, has different views on money. Money is not more important than football to me right now."
But if the deal can't be worked out, Favre still could be reinstated and report to camp, presumably forcing the team to trade him or reconsider releasing him.
Cook told The Associated Press Thursday that Favre understands he would be walking into a media frenzy by showing up for camp, but he's willing to handle that it if that's the only way he can force his way back into football.
"He's prepared to deal with it," Cook said. "He's ready to go back, but he can't go back until the commissioner reinstates him. "
McCarthy has said the team has a plan in place should Favre report to camp. He'd have to pass a physical exam and a conditioning test, then likely would be limited to individual drills at first.
"He's not a part of our 80-man roster right now," McCarthy said. "And if or when he is, we'll deal with that then. And I think our team has done a great job of just staying focused."
The Packers did not practice yesterday, but players did hear from a guest lecturer: former White House press secretary Ari Fleischer.
Fleischer's lecture on media relations was scheduled before the latest Favre controversy, but McCarthy said he took advantage of the opportunity to pick Fleischer's brain on how he might handle the team's current predicament.
McCarthy said Fleischer was "very encouraging" about the team's approach.
"As popular or unpopular as it is, for as tough or as difficult as it is, I think the organization has stood strong," McCarthy said. "They're decisive, and they're continuing to work through this. Everyone wants this resolved, don't get me wrong. No one thought it would get to this point, but this is where we are."
ESPN NFL reporter Ed Werder and The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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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