Packers detail timeline of Favre's decisions

  • Associated Press | July 12, 2008

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- A timeline of communication between the Green Bay Packers and Brett Favre, regarding Favre's decision to retire in March and request to be released this week, based on an Associated Press interview with Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy and general manager Ted Thompson on Saturday:

-Week of Jan. 22: After the Packers' overtime loss to the New York Giants in the NFC Championship game, McCarthy tells Favre they hope to take a similar approach to his retirement decision as in the past, allowing Favre plenty of time to make his decision. They agree to talk regularly.

-Feb. 22: Thompson calls Favre after getting word that Favre was upset Thompson hadn't called him in a while. According to Thompson, Favre said, "Well, I don't know where that's coming from. That doesn't come from me. I'm fine with it." Thompson said he reassures Favre: "You know that Mike and me, we still think you can play, you're still our guy."

-Feb. 29: The beginning of free agency, the Packers' original target date for Favre's decision. "He told me that day, he said, 'Hey, if I needed to make a decision today, I would retire," McCarthy said. "I said, 'Whoa, whoa, whoa. It's not that important. Ted and I have talked about it over and over again as far as, you're the priority and we didn't need to stick to that date. So you need more time? Sure. How much time do you need? He said, 'I'll tell you what. (Wife) Deanna and I are going to sit down this weekend, why don't you call me Monday?"

-March 3: McCarthy travels to Austin, Texas, for his daughter's high school basketball banquet. At this point, McCarthy isn't worried.

"We thought for sure he was going to come back," McCarthy said. "I thought he was working, just going through the process, and he needed more time."

But Favre surprises McCarthy by calling and saying he "can not commit 100 percent" to football and is going to retire. McCarthy says he offers Favre the chance to return with a guarantee that he wouldn't have to take as many repetitions in practice.

No deal. McCarthy travels back to Green Bay and the Packers announce Favre's retirement decision March 4.

-March 6: Favre's tearful press conference. McCarthy says he is surprised at how honest Favre is about the reasons behind his decision -- particularly about not being able to commit 100 percent to football.

-Week of March 24: During the coaching staff's spring break, Packers offensive line coach James Campen, whose in-laws live in New Orleans, goes up to visit Favre in Mississippi on March 26. On the 27th, Campen tells McCarthy Favre is having second thoughts and McCarthy should call him.

He does, and learns that Favre indeed is having second thoughts. McCarthy and Thompson decide they will welcome him back. They secure a private jet from a Packers board member to visit Favre in person and seal the deal.

-March 29: Favre calls McCarthy to deliver a message: Thanks, but no thanks.

"He felt at this point we had reached a point of closure," McCarthy said. "Those were his words. And he was going to stick with his initial decision."

-McCarthy talks to Favre again the week of April 7 and April 14 and on April 24. On the 24th, McCarthy explains the team's decision to place Favre on the reserve/retired list.

-May 6: With the NFL draft out of the way, Thompson visits Favre in Mississippi and has lunch on his back porch. Thompson says they have a "good conversation," but don't spend too much time talking about the idea that he might be having second thoughts.

"We didn't talk specifically about it," Thompson says. "But he mentioned several things where there was always indecisiveness, or he was wondering if he made the right decision. I think that's normal."

-June 7: During a staff retreat in Kohler, Wis., Campen says he's worried about Favre. McCarthy tells Campen to go to Mississippi -- not as an official team intermediary, but as Favre's friend.

-June 16-20: Acting on Campen's advice, McCarthy calls Favre. They play phone tag for a few days but eventually connect. "You and Ted need to have a plan if I do come back," Favre says, according to McCarthy. "Either give me my helmet or give me my release."

At that point, McCarthy asks Favre if he was 100 percent committed to a return. "He said, 'No, no, I'm not saying I'm there yet."

-June 20-early July: Favre and Campen talk regularly, and Favre's agent, Bus Cook, begins passing messages to the team through Campen. "James was put in a tough spot, and I think he's totally been wrongly illustrated in this," McCarthy said.

-July 4: Favre sends a text message to Thompson, who responds by saying he is traveling and asks if they can talk Monday. Cook begins texting Thompson, and a conference call is arranged.

-July 8: A conference call is scheduled involving Favre, Cook, Thompson, McCarthy and Russ Ball, the team's VP of football administration/player finance, to discuss Favre's request for a release. McCarthy asks Favre if he is 100 percent committed to football -- and for the first time throughout the entire offseason, Favre says yes.

"We're trying to be as respectful to him and his legacy as possible, but that's an important piece of the puzzle," McCarthy said. "As an organization, Ted and I, that's the first time any communication to us was, he was committed to play."

The Packers then receive a letter from Cook requesting his release.

"That brings us to where we are, which is a very difficult situation," Thompson said.

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