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Favre flies under radar in Green Bay

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Associated Press
August 4, 2008
— There was no parade, no motorcade, and no photo opportunity—hardly the way you’d expect Brett Favre to return to the Green Bay Packers after spending most of the past month as the league’s longest-running daytime drama.

If Favre did report to the Packers as expected Monday, none of the fans and media members staking out several entrances to Lambeau Field managed to catch a glimpse of him.


And while a team security official told a few hundred fans gathered near the entrance to the players’ parking lot that Favre already was in the building shortly after he was expected to report at noon, Packers officials weren’t immediately available to confirm that Favre was present.


The team announced Monday afternoon that Favre had been reinstated and returned to the Packers’ active roster, as was expected. To make room for Favre, the team placed cornerback Condrew Allen on injured reserve with a knee injury.


Coach Mike McCarthy had scheduled a news conference for 8:30 p.m. to talk about his plans for Favre. But the news conference was called off because McCarthy was still meeting with Favre.


Meanwhile, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell ruled Monday that he found no violations of league policy in the Packers’ tampering complaint against Minnesota Vikings. And Minnesota coach Brad Childress denied reports that the Vikings have talked to the Packers about a potential trade for Favre.


“We haven’t had any contact” with the Packers, Childress said.


Vikings coaches apparently did have contact with Favre in the offseason, but Goodell found that their conversations didn’t violate league tampering rules. In a statement, Goodell said, “None of those conversations suggest that Favre was soliciting a job or that other teams were soliciting his services.”


In a statement, the Packers said they consider the matter closed.


“Based on the information that we had, the Packers thought it was appropriate to bring this matter to the league’s attention,” the team said. “We respect the commissioner’s investigation of this matter and we now consider it closed.”


Vikings officials said they respected the “thoroughness” of the investigation.


“We provided the league with all information requested so they could be comprehensive in their decision making,” the Vikings said in a statement. “Our focus has been, and continues to be, on our football team and having a successful season.”


After being reinstated and added to the Packers’ active roster, Favre was to take a physical examination and conditioning test.


The Packers reluctantly embraced Favre’s forced return to the football field Sunday, after failing to come to a financial agreement that would manage to make Favre happy while staying retired.


And while it’s not yet clear what role Favre will play for the Packers, current quarterback Aaron Rodgers says he’s ready for a potential competition with Favre after serving as his backup for three seasons.


“I know if they do open it up to competition, not a lot of people give me a chance, but I believe in myself and I’m going to be the best I can be and let coach decide from there,” Rodgers said Sunday night.


As the Favre saga continues to take unexpected twists and turns, the Packers apparently are turning to an expert in crisis management: Former White House press secretary Ari Fleischer.


Fleischer gave a lecture to Packers players last week about media relations—an event that was scheduled before Favre got the so-called “itch” to play again—but the team apparently thought highly enough of Fleischer’s advice that they decided to keep him around.


“Can’t you tell?” McCarthy quipped Sunday night, after he was asked about a foxsports.com report that the Packers were employing Fleischer for one month as a consultant.


“I don’t know the specifics,” McCarthy said. “If he is, I might go see him when I’m done here.”


Since leaving the White House, Fleischer has gone on to become president of Ari Fleischer Sports Communications, a joint venture with IMG. Last week, Fleischer told The Associated Press that he discussed the Favre situation with Packers players.


“Obviously, it’s a topic, and it wasn’t ignored,” Fleischer said.



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