GREEN BAY, Wis. Brett Favre has sent his reinstatement paperwork to the NFL and is awaiting approval from commissioner Roger Goodell, league spokesman Randall Liu confirmed Tuesday.
Once Favre is granted reinstatement a step considered a formality but one that wouldn't be forthcoming until Wednesday at the earliest the Packers will have 24 hours to release the iconic quarterback or return him to their active roster.
If Goodell reinstates Favre, his return to the practice field for the Packers would most likely come Friday. The team does not have a scheduled public practice Thursday. ESPN first reported that Favre faxed the letter earlier Tuesday.
"It's obviously the first step in Brett coming back, but we'll deal with that when Brett is reinstated and have a plan for that when he comes back," Packers coach Mike McCarthy said after practice Tuesday afternoon.
But it doesn't have to come to that. If the Packers can work out a trade deemed acceptable to Favre in the next few days, they likely can avoid the potential for a major distraction in training camp.
The team has no plans to grant Favre the release he has requested, suspecting that he would immediately sign with division rival Minnesota. The Packers own Favre's rights until his contract expires after the 2010 season, making a trade the most likely outcome acceptable to both Favre and the Packers.
If they can't work out a trade soon, it now seems likely that Favre will show up in Packers camp later this week as the backup to Aaron Rodgers.
Team officials have maintained that the three-time MVP could return to the Packers, but Rodgers would be the starter. With the controversy building on Monday, Packers general manager Ted Thompson ruled out the possibility of a competition for the job during camp.
Rodgers insisted he isn't bothered by the potential of having Favre lurking over his shoulder.
"You know, I'm not as affected as you guys (the media) think I am or should be," Rodgers said. "They told me I'm the starter, and until that changes, that's going to be my focus."
Rodgers said he is confident in his abilities, and the commitment he has received from Packers coaches.
"I've been empowered as the starting quarterback and until that changes, I'll say it again, that's going to be my focus," Rodgers said.
Rodgers said he and Favre have "never had a problem" and would probably "joke around" when they saw each other again.
"We've got a great relationship," Rodgers said. "If he's here, we'll welcome him back."
But Packers wide receiver Donald Driver seemed skeptical that Favre would remain the backup.
"I don't know about that," Driver said. "But we'll see. We'll see what happens."
Driver said Favre's presence wouldn't cause a distraction.
"We all have jobs to do," Driver said. "We can't worry about one thing. ... If he's going to be here tomorrow, then that would be great. We'll just pick up where we left off and start laughing again. That's it."