Eight weeks ago, the Vikings were undefeated and ranked No. 1 in DVOA. Now they're 6-6 and probably done. What went wrong?
04 Aug 2008
compiled by Vince Verhei
"Once he makes it through that first year, he'll be OK after that."
-- Former Packers coach Mike Sherman, explaining that the first year of retirement would be the hardest for Brett Favre
"We've always seen a lot of great, great athletes who decide to try that one more year and it's a disappointment. I've always felt badly that Reggie [White] came back and played that year at Carolina because he wasn't the same Reggie White. And I think it'd be very sad to see that this wasn't the same Brett Favre. He has been so magnificent. He went out on top: great season, great team record. It's a great way for him to exit and add to his legacy."
-- Packers chairman emeritus Bob Harlan
"I know I can play but I don't think I want to. It's been a great career for me, but it's over."
-- Packers quarterback Brett Favre, announcing that he was retired, done, finished, complete, gone
"As they say, all good things must come to an end. I look forward to whatever the future may hold for me."
-- Favre, saying something he probably regrets in hindsight
"I promised I wouldn't get emotional ... I've watched hundreds of players retire and you wonder what that would be like. You think you're prepared ..."
-- Favre, weeping
"I hope that with every penny [the Packers have] spent on me, they know it was money well spent. It wasn't about the money or fame or records. I hear people talk about your accomplishments and things. It was never my accomplishments, it was our accomplishments."
"I'm going out on top. Believe me, I could care less what other people think. It's what I think, and I'm going out on top."
"I don't even want to think about next year. Will I watch games? I'm sure I will. Will I be involved? I always made the joke I'd be here for an honorary coin toss. Well, that time may come, so I may be back for something like that. But as far as giving advice, I don't think that will happen."
-- Favre, who should have thought about next year (ESPN.com)
"The season-opening game is always an exciting event, and now we're very pleased to add the retirement of Brett's No. 4 to that evening. It will make for an electric atmosphere at Lambeau Field, as well as a great opportunity for our fans around the country to share in it while watching the game on the national broadcast."
-- Packers President and CEO Mark Murphy, announcing the retirement ceremony for Brett Favre's jersey in the season opener against the Minnesota Vikings on Sept. 8
"Ted Thompson, Mike McCarthy and I looked at the entire schedule and felt the first game would be an ideal time to have the event. I spoke with Brett, as did Ted and Mike, about which game to choose. Ultimately, through our communications, we decided the first game would work great."
"I guess the best response would be, right now no."
-- Packers quarterback Brett Favre, confirming to the Biloxi (Miss.) Sun Herald that he was retired, kinda (ESPN.com)
"There are always second thoughts, but that's not saying I am coming back. It's never a clear-cut decision. It's something I can't expect everyone to understand. No, there's no perfect time."
-- Favre, after being named the cover model for Madden 2009
"Some of our guys play Madden better than they play on Sundays. And they spend more time talking about playing Madden."
-- Favre (ESPN.com)
"Give me my helmet or give me my release."
-- Favre, in a text message to McCarthy (ESPN.com)
"He's felt like that for the last couple of years, that the Packers didn't really want him back. But nothing's been said. You know it's just been bits and pieces throughout the last couple of years, things that would come up, and it just didn't seem like they went out of their way to keep him. It was kind of like, 'You're done.'"
-- Brett's mother Bonita Favre to Milwaukee TV station WITI (ESPN.com)
"It's all rumor."
-- Favre, to the Mississippi Sun Herald, concerning the possibility of a comeback
"I've talked to Brett and I know he has the itch to come back and play. If he will or not, I don't know. But I know he's feeling he wants to play."
-- Packers defensive back Al Harris, on ESPN's NFL Live
"As a veteran and as a leader of the team, I would welcome Brett with open arms."
"We embrace Aaron. We support Aaron. Aaron is our quarterback. Brett is retired, but if he wants to come back, there will be some guys that wouldn't mind it."
-- Harris, showing the kind of backpedal that once made him one of the NFL's best corners
"We value Brett's legacy, we think he values it, and we'd want to protect that. Brett's a high-quality person and he's not going to push it that far. He'll do the right thing [and stay retired]. This was almost predictable, the idea that Brett would get the itch to play as we get closer to the season."
-- an anonymous source with the Packers (ESPN.com)
"I'm not Brett Favre. And if they're wanting me to be the next Brett Favre, I'm not going to be him. I'm Aaron Rodgers. That's who I am."
-- Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, pulling the sword from the cheese and establishing himself as the starter in Green Bay
"I'm in a good situation. I've got a great team around me. A lot of people are focusing on what I'm going to do -- it's what the team's going to do, really. I'm an important part of that. I know my role and I need to play it well."
-- Rodgers (ESPN.com)
"Brett earned and exercised the right to retire on his terms. 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."
-- A statement released by the Packers after Favre asked by letter for his unconditional contractual release
"There's nothing I can tell you about the situation."
-- Rodgers (ESPN.com)
"We've communicated that to Brett, that we have since moved forward. At the same time, we've never said that there couldn't be some role that he might play here. But I would understand his point that he would want to play."
-- Packers General Manager Ted Thompson, saying the team does not intend to grant Favre his release
"I don't want to deal in hypotheticals. Brett is still retired. I know that there has been a lot of publicity about him being released, but if he applies for reinstatement, he will go back on the Green Bay Packers active roster and we will deal with it then."
"We were going to leave the owners' meeting [in West Palm Bech, Fla.] a day early and fly to Hattiesburg with the idea of sitting down and talking to him about coming back to the team."
-- Thompson, speaking about plans to visit Favre in late March to discuss a comeback. Favre canceled the meeting
"... That was the first time, July 8, that I'd ever heard him say [he was committed]. And he continually, from [June] 21 to July 8, told James Campen that he was not going to play. So that's a pretty important piece of the puzzle."
-- Packers Coach Mike McCarthy
"We don't know where everything is going to go. It's been a distraction. It's been a distraction for our fans. I'm trying to stay steady and do the right things for the Packers and do the right thing for Brett Favre. I care about the legacy of Brett Favre. I care about the legacy of the Green Bay Packers."
"Quite frankly, it's a little gut-wrenching as an organization to go through it, and certainly for Mike and myself. This stuff hurts a lot of people. I mean, it hurts. I'm not talking about physically hurting, but the sensitivity. We understand where the fans are coming from. This is a hot-button issue that surpasses anything I've ever gone through."
-- Thompson (ESPN.com)
"Brett, we welcome you back, we'll play you $12 million but you've got to hold the clipboard and ball cap. That's probably better for them as opposed to letting me go somewhere and me coming back. Then, their legacy, the management, could be in jeopardy. Let me worry about that. You don't worry about my legacy. It's a bunch of bull. That's all it is."
-- Favre to Greta Van Susteren, when asked about the possibility of returning to Green Bay in a backup role (ESPN.com)
"We wanted to create a forum for fans' voices to be heard. I don't understand how you deny somebody that threw for 4,000 yards [last season] a starting position. I can think of at least 25 teams in the NFL that would jump at the opportunity to have Brett Favre be their starting quarterback."
-- Packers fan Erick Rolfson, organizer of a pro-Favre rally at Lambeau Field. Rolfson said he was expecting a larger crowd than the 100 or so who showed up. Write that down (ESPN.com)
"I'm shocked that there hasn't been more support from the fans. This is a Hall of Famer we're talking about, and last I checked, the team is owned by the stockholders, not the front office."
-- Rolfson after his pro-Favre rally at the Wisconsin State Fair in Milwaukee drew a whopping 30 people
"Maybe this shows that more than a few people are sick of and fed up with Brett. I personally think he should just show up on the first day of training camp and compete for the starting job like anybody else."
-- Packers fan Eric Anderson, at the rally (ESPN.com)
"There's no way he's going to be back in that locker room now. Absolutely, positively no way ... I don't think he serves himself or anybody any good by coming back. Bottom line is this: If this was anybody else, this wouldn't be a conversation, because they'd be like, 'Man, you're retired. Go on about your business. What's wrong with you?'"
-- Former Raiders receiver Tim Brown
"Understand that it is a business and that at some point it is going to come down to business over feelings ... Players have to understand that it is going to come down to that, whether it's Peyton Manning, Brett Favre, Jerry Rice, Joe Montana, Ronnie Lott. Eventually, it is going to come to a point when the team says as great as your were, it's diminishing returns now and we've got to move on. There's a lesson for all of us coaches, general managers, players: You can be replaced."
-- Colts coach Tony Dungy
"I think [the Packers] are making a mistake. If they don't want [Favre] back, that's one thing. Release him, let him go to another team, but don't tell him he can come back but he's going to be a backup. That's not fair to Brett Favre and everything he's done for the organization."
-- Chargers running back LaDainian Tomlinson (ESPN.com)
"I've worked closely with Ted Thompson and Mike McCarthy on this, and they have my full support."
-- Murphy, backing up his general manager and coach (ESPN.com)
"We have not made a decision yet on whether to cancel it. But we're coming up to a point where we're going to have to make a decision pretty quickly."
-- Murphy on the ceremonial retiring of Favre's No. 4 jersey, originally scheduled for the Sept. 8 season opener in Lambeau against Minnesota
"We're going to retire Brett's number at some point. Regardless of whether it's this year, it'll be sometime in the future. We'll wait and see, but I think it's still enough up in the air that we want to wait and see how things play out."
"We are all in unison, and are very supportive of the way Ted and Mike have handled this situation."
-- Murphy, speaking to 9,375 Packers shareholders, who reportedly responded with "applause along with a boo or two"
"Bring him back!"
-- A lone woman among the shareholders
"Brett Favre deserves more respect than he got!"
-- A woman (perhaps the same one) shortly after the shareholders meeting ended
"He retired. Get over it."
-- A shareholder with a dissenting opinion (ESPN.com)
"I asked Ted [Saturday], 'Am I welcome in the building if I report?' And Ted was just about shattered. He said, 'Brett, you can't do that -- you'll get me fired.' I told him I'm not trying to get anybody fired. So Ted asked me to let the guys report and let's try to resolve this over the next two or three days."
-- Favre, making public some comments that Thompson likely wishes had remained private
"I said, 'Let me compete, you'll know I'll win this job.' And Ted said again, 'Brett, things have changed. Aaron Rodgers is our quarterback.' It's pretty clear -- and this is what I told the commissioner -- that they want me to go away, stay retired. They would much rather see me in a Packers uniform, paying me $12 million to be a backup -- which you know they really don't want -- rather than see in another uniform, no matter what they say. They'll drag this out, asking a king's ransom [in a trade], hoping it all goes away."
"In my mind, it's no different than me talking to Donovan McNabb as he's [reporting] to training camp or talking to Brian Westbrook. I communicate with people in this league. You don't leave past relationships."
-- Minnesota Vikings coach Brad Childress, explaining that he was just chatting with his buddy Brett, and definitely not, you know, tampering, because golly, that would be wrong
"I have never denied talking to Childress. I've known [Childress] for about 12 years, going back to when he and Jay Norvell were assistants at Wisconsin and they used to come in and sit in our quarterback meetings. And then Brad went to Philadelphia to be with Andy Reid and, you know, Andy and I are big buddies, so the relations continued. Like I told Milt and like I told the commissioner, I've spoken to Childress. I've spoken to Darrell Bevell [Vikings offensive coordinator], I've spoken to Andy Reid, I've spoken to Mike Sherman, Matt Millen, Steve Mariucci â€¦ I've spoken to a lot of guys who are my friends and guys who have coached me, either talked to them or left messages."
-- Favre, unintentionally opening up a slew of tampering investigations
"That's just bogus. I don't have a Packers cell phone. Never have. I told Ted [on Thursday] that he and McCarthy needed to clear up this cell phone thing. I told him they needed to get in front of the media and admit that I don't have one of their cell phones. And Ted said, 'Well, I think somebody already squashed that [story].' But that isn't enough. They need to get up and admit it's ridiculous and bogus."
-- Favre (ESPN.com)
"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."
-- McCarthy, after Favre formally filed reinstatement papers with the league
"[Rodgers will] be starting all of the [preseason] games as the starter. We've talked about possibly playing our first group maybe a little longer, and those are things that we'll discuss. The health of your football team obviously factors into that, so that is our plan going into the preseason with Aaron."
"The plan for Brett Favre will be discussed first with Brett Favre and then we'll make the public aware of it."
"Hey, wonder what I'm going to do there?"
-- Murphy, to reporters as he boarded a private plane bound for Hattiesburg
"I'm not as affected as you guys think I am or should be. They told me I'm the starter, and until that changes, that's going to be my focus. I keep saying that."
"Any time you have a situation where there is a distraction or one guy getting all the attention or the buzz, rather than on us concentrating or executing plays, you get tired of answering questions. It's only going to be worse if he shows up in camp tomorrow or the next day. We've just all got to be prepared to be professionals and to practice hard and work hard and make sure everyone on the team is doing their job."
-- Packers defensive back Charles Woodson, openly asking Favre to please just stay home (ESPN.com)
"He would love to go back in Green Bay. I mean, that's why he started working out. But right now, it looks like he'll be the quarterback at Oak Grove High School."
-- Favre's agent James "Bus" Cook, after a private Sunday meeting between himself, Favre and Murphy. At the meeting, Murphy reportedly offered Favre a $20 million package that would keep him with the Packers, but off the football field.
"I'm late for a 9 o'clock meeting and I'm not lying."
-- Favre, to reporters after his usual workout at Oak Grove High School
"Why don't y'all get in the shade?"
-- Favre, advising reporters on how to handle Mississippi summers
"It's to the point where I think it's better for myself and better for the football team: It's time for me to coach the football team. I can't concern myself with the day-to-day, blow-by-blow things that go on outside of the preparation of the team. So if he comes in here, he'll be one of 80 and I will coach him accordingly."
-- McCarthy (ESPN.com)
"There isn't a perfect solution to this, but Mark Murphy is at least trying. We know what they want and where I stand. His solution, although awkward and unsettling for most, may be the best in the end."
-- Favre, via text message to ESPN's Ed Werder
"Brett needs to stay a part of football. Obviously, he's a part of the Green Bay Packers. This is really something that's been out there all along."
"Once he's reinstated, Brett's going in, and once that happens Packerland becomes Disneyland -- although that's not what Brett wants for his teammates. He wants them to be successful and do well. But that's what happens if this thing doesn't get resolved, and he decides to report."
"My intentions have been to play, and with Green Bay. They say no, so I still want to play in this division for obvious reasons, which I made clear to management. If they won't let me play in Green Bay, let me play against you. That's where I am."
"It's painfully clear the Packers do not want Brett back, but they will take him back once they have no choice"
-- Cook (ESPN.com)
"You could hand me a billion dollars, and I'm still going to be on the field. It doesn't matter to me. But everyone has different situations, has different views on money. Money is not more important than football to me right now."
-- Packers linebacker A.J. Hawk, in a quote that Thompson is sure to remember when contract negotiations with Hawk come around (ESPN.com)
"I'm not trying to interject myself. I was interjected into it because there was a tampering charge initially. I'm not looking for things to interject myself to. It's an issue that needs to be addressed because of the competing interests. You want to make sure it's done properly and within our rules. This is an issue that ultimately has to be decided between Brett and the Packers."
-- NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, trying his best to stay out of this mess (ESPN.com)
"Frankly, Brett's change of mind put us in a very difficult spot. We now will revise many actions and assumptions about our long-term future, all predicated on Brett's decision last March to retire. As a result of his decision, we invested considerably in a new and different future without Brett and we were obviously moving in that direction. That's why this wasn't easy. Having crossed the Rubicon once when Brett decided to retire, it's very difficult to reorient our plans and cross it again in the opposite direction -- but we'll put this to our advantage."
-- Murphy, in a released statement when it was finally known that Favre would be returning to Green Bay to compete with Rodgers for the starting quarterback role
"I'm a competitor. I'm going to compete. This isn't going to be easy. It's going to be a dogfight. And I know if they do open it up to competition, not a lot of people give me a chance, but I believe in myself and I'm going to be the best I can be and let coach decide from there."
"Yeah, I take it personally. But like I said, it's not the first time and it won't be the last time."
-- Rodgers, after he was booed by a vocal minority of fans at a Packers scrimmage
"I'm happy. I'm excited. It's good to have him back in the house."
-- Packers receiver Donald Driver (ESPN.com)
"Right now I don't want a deal. You may think I'm funny or saying that just to say it, but for me, I'm tired of it. I washed my hands of the whole situation."
-- Arizona wide receiver Anquan Boldin displaying some fine sour grapes after failing to secure a new contract from the Arizona Cardinals
"It's not even about Larry's deal. Larry earned everything he got. Honestly, he played his butt off. He deserved it."
-- Boldin, referring to the $40 million ($30 million guaranteed) contract that teammate Larry Fitzgerald signed after last season
-- Boldin, when asked if he felt the Cardinals had lied to him
"I think my numbers speak for themselves. Even they (the Cardinals) came out publicly and said that I outplayed my contract. I don't have to make a case to anybody why I'm deserving of a contract. That's self-explanatory."
-- Boldin (Associated Press)
"When that happens on the field, usually guys have helmets on. But this happened on the sidelines, so it probably wasn't a good idea."
-- Carolina quarterback Jake Delhomme after receiver Steve Smith and cornerback Ken Lucas got into a sideline fight and had to be separated during a Panthers practice. Lucas was reportedly not wearing a helmet and on one knee when Smith hit him
"Steve was probably a little remorseful for what happened. He was trying to apologize, so I was walking with him just to be there."
-- Wide receiver Muhsin Muhammad, after escorting Smith into a tent where trainers were tending to Lucas's injuries
"When I was 22 I was a different guy, so I'm not trying to spin anything. You spend two hours with somebody and now you know them, that's not the case."
"I'm not going to get into who's right, who's wrong. I'm completely wrong. It was an asinine decision. And I'll move forward better than I probably have ever had to. It's the first time in my life that I really haven't forgiven myself."
-- Smith, after the Panthers suspended him for the season's first two games
"We're still waiting on the doctors to give us the timetable on when we're going to have this procedure done."
-- Lucas, speaking with a blackened left eye and a swollen nose. He added that he had accepted Smith's apology
"I will not put myself into a position where I have to defend myself, to state my side of the story. There's no side. There's only one side, a lack of judgment on my part. That's really all I have to say. I have no excuse. All I have is the opportunity to gain the respect of my fans, to gain the respect of my family, gain the respect of my co-workers and gain the respect of the organization."
"I'm a fallen man. I'm a man that made a mistake. I plan to mend the bridges that I've burned and help rebuild the bridge, if I need to all by myself."
-- Smith (Associated Press)
"I can't go out and play this year making $445,000. Come on, man."
-- Bears kick returner Devin Hester explaining why he reported late to training camp in Chicago
"I have to make a statement. I showed by going to (organized team activities) that I was a team player. But then, I just felt like they weren't taking it seriously that I wanted to get a new deal."
-- Hester (Arizona Republic)
"They're very hard deals to get done. It's a lot of projection, and you can only go on current data."
-- Bears senior director of football administration Cliff Stein after signing Hester to a $40 million ($15 million guaranteed) contract extension. The Bears signed 10 players already under contract to new deals or extensions this offseason, including Hester, Tommie Harris, Lance Briggs and Brian Urlacher
"They pay and take care of their own guys, and that's a comfortable feeling if you're a player. If you play and perform the way they expect, the organization will take care of you. That's a place you want to be."
Bears center Olin Kreutz, who signed his own extension in the middle of last season (Chicago Tribune)
"It's just for y'all that I'm shedding the nickname. All my teammates call me Pac-Man. ... Y'all are not my teammates, y'all are not in the locker room and going through the trenches with me."
-- Cowboys cornerback Adam "Don't Call Me Pac-Man Unless You Are A Teammate" Jones
"I call him dummy if I want."
-- Cowboys defensive tackle Tank Johnson
"I'm not even worrying about that, it will come. All I've got to do is do my part, and I'm doing it."
-- Jones, who is still technically suspended by the NFL, referring to his reinstatement. In related news, the alleged shooter in the strip club riot Jones started in Las Vegas has been indicted (Associated Press)
"People take it in a different context when I say I want out and I'm not happy. They think, 'He doesn't want to be in Cincinnati anymore, he's dissing us as fans.' It's not like that. I love my fans. I wasn't able to get that point across. They've supported me. They've been good to me, and I've been good to them. I was going through a situation where I felt a change was needed. It didn't work out. Hey, I'm back. Get ready for the show."
-- Bengals wide receiver Chad Johnson, explaining why he was going to show up to training camp on time after begging to be traded throughout the season
"I'm still in Cincinnati. This is one of those crazy things. I love Cincinnati. I love my fans. I love everything about it. I wasn't happy about certain things â€” the business side of it â€” and I spoke my mind and that was it."
"A true fan of mine knows what they've got. A true fan of mine sticks with me through thick and thin when things aren't going right. That's what a true fan does. Those that are upset because I spoke my mind? There's not much I can do but apologize."
"[Wide receivers have] always been flamboyant. They've always been flashy. It's just something you have to have. When you're playing receiver, you have to have a certain stigma about you. All of us all have different characteristics and personalities, but we're all rock stars."
-- Johnson, on why he and Randy Moss and Terrell Owens and Steve Smith and Javon Walker are all so crazy (Associated Press)
"I think (left tackle Matt) Light and I popped a cold beer when I saw that transaction. We were the two most excited players in the NFL ... We were hugging each other. It was awesome."
-- Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, reacting to the deal that sent Miami defensive end Jason Taylor to the Washington Redskins (Worcester Telegram)
"We've got to be a little bit more violent."
-- Chiefs coach Herm Edwards, unhappy with the blocking he saw in a recent practice (Kansas City Star)
"When those lightning bolts start coming out of the sky and the wind blowing â€” there's a God that I believe in that's bigger than me, that has a whistle; he's telling me: 'You know what? We ain't going.' So you don't go. You just line up tomorrow and go."
-- Edwards, after a lightning storm cut another practice session short (Kansas City Star)
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93 comments, Last at 08 Aug 2008, 6:22pm by Sid