The Green Bay Packers want to do the right thing in response to Brett Favre's latest round of flip-flopping on his future in football.
And as far as the team is concerned, that might mean showing No. 4 the door although working out a trade might be more palatable to the Packers than granting Favre the release he has requested.
Favre asked the Packers to release him so he can return to the NFL with another team after apparently being told his latest retirement reversal wasn't welcome news in Green Bay. The team said it would do "what's right" in response to Favre's request, which was first reported by ESPN on Friday.
"Brett earned and exercised the right to retire on his terms," the team's statement said.
"We wanted him to return and welcomed him back on more than one occasion. Brett's press conference and subsequent conversations in the following weeks illustrated his commitment to retirement. The finality of his decision to retire was accepted by the organization. At that point, the Green Bay Packers made the commitment to move forward with our football team."
The 38-year-old Favre retired March 6 after a 17-year career, openly sobbing as he contemplated a future without football. But almost immediately, he began dropping hints that he was having second thoughts.
The most recent and intense round came Friday, when ESPN's Chris Mortensen reported that sources close to Favre and the team told him agent James "Bus" Cook asked the Packers for Favre's release in a letter because the Packers were not receptive to the idea of Favre wanting to play again.
The Packers' front office has spent the past several offseasons dealing with weeks and months worth of speculation about the three-time MVP's future plans. But this time, they're apparently not biting.
The Packers' statement said Favre, who was placed on the reserve/retired list, has the right to petition NFL commissioner Roger Goodell to be reinstated a request the league would grant automatically. After that, Favre would return to the team's active roster.
But the statement did not specify what the Packers would do after that, beyond doing "what's right and in the best interest of the team."
If the team has committed to moving forward without Favre, their options once he was reinstated would include trading him to another team or releasing him so he would be free to sign with the team of his choice.
The Packers have made it clear they're committed to going with quarterback Aaron Rodgers, a first-round pick in 2005 who has been sitting behind Favre for his first three seasons in the NFL.
Releasing Favre presents the possibility that he will sign with NFC North rivals Minnesota or Chicago, where he would be an upgrade over the incumbent QBs.
If the Packers traded him, there would be teams outside the division such as Baltimore or Tampa Bay, and perhaps Washington, that would be interested. There also has been speculation he could go to Miami for disgruntled defensive end Jason Taylor, the 2006 defensive player of the year.
Either way, it would be an ugly end to what has been one of the most celebrated partnerships in recent NFL history.
"As with all Packers greats, Brett's legacy will always be celebrated by our fans and the organization, regardless of any change in his personal intentions," the statement said. "Brett and Deanna will always be a part of the Packers family."
Even if that family is looking awfully dysfunctional these days.