GREEN BAY, Wis. &
Green Bay Packers general manager Ted Thompson was not seen at practice this morning, and his scheduled early afternoon media availability was postponed &
one of several signs a trade involving Brett Favre might be brewing.
Favre's Mississippi-based agent, James "Bus" Cook, told the Jackson (Miss.) Clarion-Ledger this morning that a trade, either to Tampa Bay or the New York Jets, might happen as soon as this morning.
"Brett's ready to go play," Cook told the paper at 11:25 a.m. EDT. "It looks like it's going to be New York or Tampa Bay. We're waiting to find out and we could learn in the next hour or so."
A private plane was scheduled to depart Green Bay for Hattiesburg, Miss. at 11:10 a.m. EDT. But the flight was delayed more than an hour, and it was not immediately clear whether Favre would be on it. Favre's family home is near Hattiesburg.
Tampa Bay coach Jon Gruden refused to address speculation that the team was on the verge of a deal for Favre. The Buccaneers have yet to confirm publicly that they are interested in Favre, although Gruden conceded that Favre's situation is "unprecedented" and acknowledged that he's always willing to explore ways to improve his team.
"We are a good football team," Gruden said. "We're trying to become a great one. We'll do anything we can to get better. And if that involves looking at other players, by George that's our job. That's our responsibility."
Meanwhile, Packers coach Mike McCarthy said he was happy the rest of his players were getting a chance to move on.
Players vented frustration over the Favre situation Tuesday, after fans chanting "Bring Back Brett!" turned practice into a zoo-like atmosphere and reporters continued asking questions about Favre instead of football.
"It's time for it to be over," cornerback Charles Woodson said Tuesday. "It's gone on long enough."
As the league's longest-running daytime drama continued to twist and turn, Woodson and other veteran Packers players weren't publicly assessing blame or taking sides. They just didn't want to talk or think about it any more.
"For them to keep us in the dark and just have us answering a bunch of questions that we can't possibly have a good answer for, I don't think it's fair to us," Woodson said. "I think there needs to be something said, yea or nay for Brett Favre."
That answer &
a resounding "nay" &
came Tuesday evening, when McCarthy told reporters that after extensive conversations with Favre over the past two days, he has determined that Favre doesn't have the right mindset to play for the Packers.
McCarthy has praised his players' ability to stay focused throughout the team's showdown with Favre, but acknowledged Tuesday that it could take a toll on the team.
"We have an excellent opportunity here to be a very good football team in 2008," McCarthy said. "We've had an extraordinary challenge dealing with this situation, a lot can be learned from it, but they definitely want this thing resolved as soon as possible."
Wide receiver Greg Jennings admitted Tuesday's practice &
with fans chanting for Favre and against general manager Ted Thompson &
was a distraction. Just like everything else in this ugly, omnipresent mess.
"When it's in your face, like this, how do you avoid it? How do you not allow it to be in the back of your head? You can't," Jennings said. "You're thinking about it. Everybody's in here thinking about it, and we just don't know what the next move's going to be."
The next move might be coming soon. But for now, it's clear that bond between Favre and the Packers appears to be broken beyond repair.
After approximately six hours of what McCarthy called "brutally honest" conversations with Favre over the past two days, McCarthy said Favre couldn't seem to get past emotional wounds that were opened as tensions mounted in recent weeks &
even with the chance to win his starting job back potentially on the table.
"The train has left the station, whatever analogy you want," McCarthy said. "He needs to jump on the train and let's go. Or, if we can't get past things that have happened, I have to keep the train moving."
Favre left Lambeau Field just before Packers practice Tuesday afternoon.
"We're at a stalemate," Favre told ESPN Tuesday morning.
Favre trade talk heating up as Packers move on
GREEN BAY, Wis. &