Packers, Favre reach compromise; QB not reporting to camp Sunday

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- The Green Bay Packers and Brett Favre have reached a compromise.

The Packers confirmed to ESPN that he won't show up for camp Sunday. Packers' management will now try and reach some sort of resolution to the on-going un-retirement saga, SI.com reports.

"I had planned on reporting for the start of Packers training camp Sunday, but [general manager] Ted Thompson asked if I would give him a couple of days to try to get the situation resolved," Favre told SI.com Saturday night from his home west of Hattiesburg, Miss. "I agreed to do that. I don't want to be a distraction to the Packers, and I hope in the next few days we can come to an agreement that would allow me to continue playing football.''

Favre also said: "I've also spoken with Commissioner [Roger] Goodell a couple of times this week, in hopes that he could be some sort of arbitrator in this. I hope he can be.''

Packers players were scheduled to attend meetings and take physicals Sunday. Running back Ryan Grant -- an exclusive-rights free agent who has refused to sign a tender offer from the team and is pursuing a long-term deal -- also did not report Sunday morning.

Players, coaches and Thompson were not scheduled to meet with reporters until after the Packers' first practice Monday morning.

Green Bay coach Mike McCarthy isn't quite sure how this will play out over the next few days. But he does know this much: Favre or no Favre, Aaron Rodgers is his starting quarterback.

In his season-opening news conference at Lambeau Field on Saturday, McCarthy strongly affirmed the team's commitment to Rodgers and reiterated that players and coaches spent the offseason planning to move forward after Favre retired in March.

"Aaron Rodgers is the starting quarterback for the Green Bay Packers," McCarthy said. "That's been stated over and over again. I hope we can finally understand that. That's where we are as an organization and as a head coach of the Green Bay Packers. I don't know how else to answer that question."

Favre retired in March, but asked to be released from his contract earlier this month after his latest round of flip-flopping on his football future was met with lukewarm enthusiasm from McCarthy and Thompson.

The Packers have no plans to release Favre, whose rights belong to them until his contract expires after the 2010 season. That would leave Favre free to sign with any team, including division rival Minnesota.

Vikings offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell, who talked to Favre during the offseason, addressed the Packers' charge of tampering for the first time on Saturday.

"It's not the message I want out there," Bevell said. "I want us focusing on the Minnesota Vikings. What we're doing here, what we're trying to prepare for, the season that we're having. Keep the focus on our team, and that's where I would like it to stay."

The NFL is investigating the tampering charge. Bevell was Green Bay's quarterbacks coach from 2003-05 and got to know Favre well during that time.

"I would say we're really good friends, and other than that it's a league matter and they are taking care of it," said Bevell, who is in his third year as Minnesota's offensive coordinator under coach Brad Childress.

Bevell didn't bite on a query about whether he was curious to see where Favre winds up playing if he follows through on his desire to file for reinstatement, now that the Packers have committed to Rodgers as their starter.

"Like I said, I'm just focused on what we're doing here," Bevell said. "That's going to happen, what's going to happen, but focused on what we're doing."

Favre could always just stay retired, but his next move might be to show up for camp -- or at least try to use the threat of showing up and creating a media circus to force a trade.

Tampa Bay and the New York Jets are emerging as potential trade partners for the Packers, although McCarthy didn't directly address the possibility of a trade Saturday.

While the Tampa Bay Buccaneers aren't acknowledging interest in Favre, coach Jon Gruden said little to dispel the notion on the first day of training camp.

General manager Bruce Allen was unavailable for comment, and Gruden shrugged off reports that Tampa Bay had been given permission to talk to Favre.

"You can talk to Brett yourself. If we have permission, I'm sure you do, too," the coach said.

"I don't have any reports on Brett, OK. I'm going to concentrate on [practice]. There will be more opportunities to write stories on this situation. It's a great story to cover. I wish I had time to cover all the things going on. But I do like what we did today as a football team. His situation is going to handle itself."

Gruden reiterated that Jeff Garcia, who is not in camp this weekend because he's attending a reunion for the junior college team that his father led to a national championship 35 years ago, is the club's No. 1 quarterback.

"We are creating a real drama here. I don't know if it is that tear-jerking and emotional that we need to address it any more than we have," Gruden said.

"What we talk about is confidential. ... [Favre] is very confident in his own abilities. His game tape in the last 20 starts in this league proves he isn't afraid of anything, he understands pro football, and he is eager to get in here with his team and compete."

If Favre does play this season, he first would have to file for reinstatement with the league and have his request approved by Goodell. Then he'd have to pass a team physical.

Despite the mind-numbing nature of the ongoing Favre saga, McCarthy seemed fairly upbeat Saturday. At one point, he jokingly offered $50 to the first reporter who asked a question that didn't pertain to Favre.

But McCarthy did acknowledge that he was disappointed about how the situation has evolved.

"The way it's gone has been disappointing, I'll say that," McCarthy said. "So you can say that's a surprise."

That's the closest McCarthy and other Packers officials have come to publicly criticizing Favre in recent weeks, even after the quarterback lashed out at Thompson in an interview with Fox News.

"We've taken the high road through this whole process, for as difficult as it's been," McCarthy said. "And we've always operated in the best interest of the Packers and also with the utmost respect for Brett Favre."

But even given Favre's iffy commitment to football, doesn't he still give the Packers their best chance to win in 2008?

"As simple as a question as that sounds, it's obviously more complicated than that," McCarthy said.

Taking Favre back might seem like an easy answer, but doing so would undermine the message McCarthy and his assistants have been preaching to players for nearly five months.

"Moving forward as a football team is really the identity of the whole football team," McCarthy said. "Brett Favre's had an incredible career here. He's been the focal point of the Packers, the face of the Green Bay Packers."

Despite his background as a quarterbacks coach, McCarthy prefers to win with defense -- a philosophy that presumably works best with steady but unspectacular play from a quarterback.

"The football team has moved forward with the emphasis on defense," McCarthy said. "Because that's what I believe in."

Even with his firm commitment to Rodgers and the defense, McCarthy couldn't completely rule out the possibility of Favre starting another game for the Packers. But McCarthy's quote -- "You never say never" -- seemed more like an offhanded acknowledgment of the unpredictable nature of the game than a subtle hint that Favre could win his job back.

"If he reinstates, he'll be part of our roster," McCarthy said. "That's really as far as we can go."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.