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Favre overcoming disappointment

By Chris Mortensen


It was less than 24 hours after the draft when I heard Brett Favre was furious with the Packers for failing to land Randy Moss.

He was certainly in a state of mind in which he could have said, "Get me out of here," so I don't really doubt the report by Fox Sports' Jay Glazer, who said Favre requested a trade, before Packers coach Mike McCarthy smoothed things over.

Favre has now said he doesn't want to be traded. His agent, Bus Cook, denied his client ever demanded to be traded, but something strong was definitely communicated to the Packers.

Green Bay seemingly had Moss in its grasp, and losing him was an unforgivable slip in the eyes of Favre, who had campaigned for the receiver since January. All the Packers had to do was give him the same deal the Patriots did: a one-year contract for $3 million in 2007, with $2 million worth of incentives. The Packers insisted on a two-year contract, the first season for $1.9 million in base salary, plus 16 game-day roster bonuses of $100,000 apiece, for a total of $3.5 million.

The Packers simply got cute. They had the inside track and could have gotten this deal done on Friday or Saturday during draft weekend -- perhaps even for a fifth-round draft pick. The Patriots swooped in on Saturday night, finalizing the deal on Sunday morning.

During our ESPN draft coverage, Steve Young and I had a couple of spirited debates when the Packers didn't draft Tennessee wide receiver Robert Meachem with their first-round pick.

Young wondered what the organization was doing to help its veteran quarterback. I argued that Favre could care less what the team did in the draft; he has stated on more than one occasion he is not a believer in rookie receivers making an immediate impact.

Favre's legitimate gripe is that Packers general manager Ted Thompson hasn't followed the blueprint of former GM Ron Wolf, who built a Super Bowl team by complementing the draft with aggressive moves in free agency and trades. Wolf traded for Favre and signed Hall of Fame defensive end Reggie White, not to mention other significant nondraft acquisitions such as tight end Keith Jackson.

Thompson can argue that last year he signed four free agents, including cornerback Charles Woodson. He can also argue his main priority is rebuilding the foundation of the franchise through the draft, and there are some very good personnel men who privately raved about the Packers' first draft pick. Tennessee defensive tackle Justin Harrell can be a disruptive force and should also allow last year's top pick, middle linebacker A.J. Hawk, to thrive at an even higher level.

What is not quite known is whether Thompson would prefer it if Favre just went away. Green Bay didn't make a move for Moss, Ahman Green was let go at running back, and there is no true receiving threat at tight end. Thompson also drafted quarterback Aaron Rodgers three years ago. Is he ready to move on, but can't muster up the courage to act?

What about Favre's declaration that he's excited about the talent around him? First of all, he is no dummy. Favre knows you can motivate your teammates with flattery. Also, he was genuinely impressed Thompson had three rookie offensive linemen in 2006 who turned out to be good players.

Favre's absence from minicamp this weekend isn't a big deal. He had minor ankle surgery, and is trying to enjoy his daughter Brittany's graduation this week. He told McCarthy he will be in Green Bay for the other on-field activities, just as he was a year ago.

For his part, McCarthy plans to improve Favre's 56 percent completion rate by emphasizing more checkdown throws when the first and second options aren't open. Don't worry about whether Favre can lead a team he supposedly has dissed. Spend two minutes around him and you are captivated by his personality. He is simply impossible to hate.

As for any potential trade, the Cowboys actually had a discussion last offseason, but it went nowhere. Favre is on record as saying he doesn't want to learn a new offense at this stage.

The Bucs also shouldn't be considered a possible destination, even though coach Jon Gruden is the quarterback collector. It's not the same West Coast offense. Even Rich Gannon, an MVP for Gruden in Oakland, is surprised at how the scheme and terminology has evolved.

Forget the Broncos. Mike Shanahan believes he has a younger, more polished Brett Favre in Jay Cutler.

There are really only two teams running the West Coast offense in which Favre would be comfortable: Seattle and Philadelphia.

The Seahawks are committed to Matt Hasselbeck at quarterback, and it would take a dramatic setback by Donovan McNabb from his knee injury to even spark a discussion. As a result, Favre seems likely to finish his career in Green Bay.

At least he gave us somebody other than Pacman Jones to discuss.

Chris Mortensen is an NFL reporter for ESPN.

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