Rumors and hearsay for everyone! Forget about his first days at training camp when the media coverage skyrocketed from an average of 20 or so reporters into the hundreds, coming off a bad loss in Oakand and rumors of treason against his former team, one thing is certain...the honeymoon is over and this Wednesday was Favre’s real introduction to the infamously brutal New York media.
Reports have surfaced recently about Jets QB Brett Favre allegedly helping the Lions prepare to play the Packers, Favre’s former team, by talking with former Detroit president and CEO Matt Millen. Of course, with reports like that, there are truths to be weeded out of the mess of rumors and allegations.
Favre did talk with Millen earlier this season, something he referred to as merely a conversation with a friend. But he downplayed the rumors at his weekly press conference Wednesday, saying that it happens all the time.
“It’s common,” Favre said. “It happens everyday. It happens more than you know.”
Some reports have listed Favre’s conversation with Millen as lasting up to 90 minutes, something Favre refuted.
“We talked for 15, 20, 25 minutes. I think the report was 90 minutes or something,” Favre said. “No, it was not that long. Half of it was football. Half of it was, ya know, my son’s a lawyer here, I’m not that far away.
“You want to come down, hunt, get away, feel free to. ‘Hey, anything in particular you guys did to us last year that stands out?’ Besides me having 22 straight completions? Not really.”
Favre grew noticeably more frustrated as the questions would not go away about his conversation with Millen.
“Let me clarify this, I did not call the Lions, nor did I call Tony Romo. I don’t know what else to tell everyone. I’m not calling people.”
He compared his situation to picking Calvin Pace’s brain heading into the Jets game against the Cardinals, Pace’s former team.
“Yeah, I played for the Packers for 16 years,” Favre said. “We played against the Lions a bunch. It’s no secret what we did against ‘em.
“I mean, I don’t have a playbook from Green Bay. I didn’t send a playbook. I didn’t call him and say, ‘Look, if you do this, you’re going to win the game.’ I didn’t do that.
“Don’t think for a second that when Mike McCarthy left [Green Bay] in ’99, went to the Saints, the next year we played them, they put it to us, that he didn’t tell his guys what they thought. There’s nothing wrong with that.”
Favre was asked by a reporter about a former teammate using the term “sabotage,” something that surprised the veteran quarterback a bit.
“Accuse me of sabotage?” Favre questioned. “Did they win?”
When the reporter answered yes, Favre had no verbal response, but stood there as if to say, “How could I have sabotaged anything if they won?”
He went on to talk about his relationship with his former teammates in Green Bay, commending them as a team, and attempting to dispel any rumors that he would be out to hurt them given the way things ended with him and the Green Bay organization.
“I think the players in Green Bay know me, know what type of guy I am, know what type of teammate I was. No different than the guys here.
“You know, [Donald] Driver, [Greg] Jennings, great players. Charles Woodson, Al Harris, great players. Aaron Kampman, great player. I want nothing but great things for those guys.
“I’ve said this the last several years, that that was the most talented team I ever played on. Good luck beating ‘em. I think those guys know that when I played with ‘em, I’d do anything I could for ‘em.
“I guess I’m a little bit angry because I think my reputation has been well-respected throughout the years. Any time that’s questioned, the type of teammate I am, it does anger me.”
There was more speculation and questions about the phone call, with everything from ‘Do you think you were talking to anyone else via speaker phone?’ to ‘Will this change your philosophy moving forward?’
Favre seemed confident about his convictions in not doing anything wrong, and given the chance, he said he would take the call again.
“Matt Millen’s a friend of mine,” Favre said. “As a lot of those guys are. Darrell Bevel, friend of mine. Marty Mornhinweg, Mike Holmgren, Andy Reid, Matt Hasselbeck.
“If someone called me and either asked—like Tony Romo asked me about how I played with a broken thumb, anything in particular, any secrets I could give him. I said I just tried it, wore a splint on my thumb. It was worth a try. Next thing I know, I’m calling everyone in the league giving out secrets.
“I’m willing to help, but it’s awful ridiculous.”
There were some football-related questions asked at the press conference, regarding the aggressiveness of the Jets’ game plans and how Favre’s shoulder feels since he has taken some hard hits over the past few games and gotten up moving his shoulder around a little.
“I’m a little sore today,” he said. “But that’s been two days. Long flight, but I can play today. I could. I think I’ll practice today, too.”
The Jets released T Stefan Rodgers from the practice squad and signed TE Brad Listorti.
Teammates: “Not a Big Deal”
In the locker room, Favre’s teammates didn’t think his Matt Millen conversation was a big deal.
“I don’t know the details, but to me it just seems ridiculous,” OL Damien Woody said. “We got our own things going on here. People just keep stirring up the Favre-Green Bay thing and to me it’s just getting out of control. I’m moving forward, and I know he is.
“That kinda stuff happens all the time,” Woody added.
“I feel it [his focus] is with the Jets,” S Kerry Rhodes said.
Taking One From Herm’s Book
In Herman Edwards’—now Chiefs head coach—last season with the Jets, he was asked about throwing the season, playing backup quarterbacks, etc. Edwards responded with a now-famous line in the Jets press room, “We play to win the game.”
At his press conference, a much milder Eric Mangini went that route subtly when asked how important it is trying to build some momentum here again.
“It’s really about winning the game,” Mangini said. “Not momentum or anything else, just winning this game.”
Traffic on the Field
During practice, the cornerbacks were with select receivers, among them Marcus Henry and David Clowney, doing pass coverage drills near the area where Leon Washington was catching punts.
At times, the defensive backs and receivers would get out of hand and invade Washington’s territory, to which the coach working with Leon yelled, “Stay out of our drill!”
During the receivers and defensive back drill, DB Ahmad Carroll was fired up, yelling things like, “Do sumthin ‘bout it!” and “Get yo ass up here!” to those facing him.
After the heartbreaking loss to Oakland last week, it’s the kind of fire the Jets defense could use.