MILWAUKEE Brett Favre apparently won't be among the Packers showing up for the opening of Green Bay's training camp Sunday morning.
Favre told si.com that general manager Ted Thompson had asked him for "a couple of days" to resolve the situation.
"I agreed to do that," Favre told the site. "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."
That agreement, presumably, would be a trade. The New York Jets and Tampa Bay Buccaneers have emerged as two potential trade partners for the Packers, and Favre told si.com that he would consider a trade to any team.
Team officials weren't immediately available to confirm that Favre didn't show up to camp, where players were scheduled to attend meetings and take physicals after reporting at 7:30 a.m. CDT Sunday. Players, coaches and Thompson were not scheduled to meet with reporters until after the Packers' first practice Monday morning.
To report to camp, Favre first would have to file for reinstatement with the league and have his request approved by commissioner Roger Goodell, something that didn't happen Saturday. Then he'd have to pass a team physical.
In the si.com interview, conducted at his home in Mississippi, Favre said he has been speaking with Goodell and hopes the commissioner could be "some sort of arbitrator" in his impasse with the Packers.
The Packers were willing to take Favre back as recently as late March, several weeks after he retired. But after Favre led team officials to believe he was ready to return, only to change his mind once again and stay retired, the team made a firm commitment to moving forward.
Now, Packers officials have made it clear that Favre wouldn't be the starter if he returned. And they aren't willing to grant his request to be released because they fear he would sign with division rival Minnesota. Favre's rights belong to the Packers until his contract expires after the 2010 season.
Favre told si.com he was interviewed this week by an NFL official about tampering charges filed by the Packers against the Vikings. Favre said he talked to Vikings coach Brad Childress and offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell which by itself wouldn't constitute tampering but denied that either of them tried to entice him to come to the Vikings, as the Packers suspect.
On Saturday, Packers coach Mike McCarthy said even he wasn't sure how the Favre saga would play out. But he did make it clear that Aaron Rodgers is his starting quarterback.
"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."
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: it's time to move forward.
"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."