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Favre Files for Reinstatement, but Ball Remains in Air

Commissioner Roger Goodell said he would reinstate retired quarterback Brett Favre to the NFL if Favre asked.
Commissioner Roger Goodell said he would reinstate retired quarterback Brett Favre to the NFL if Favre asked. (By David Duprey -- Associated Press)
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Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, July 30, 2008; Page E07

Quarterback Brett Favre took a significant procedural step toward ending his nearly five-month retirement and resuming his NFL career by sending a letter to the league office yesterday asking Commissioner Roger Goodell to reinstate him.

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Greg Aiello, the NFL's senior vice president of public relations, said the league received the letter but indicated Goodell would take no action yesterday.

That's a mere formality. Goodell previously told Packers officials and Favre in separate conversations Favre would be reinstated if he asked.

Under league rules, the Packers will have 24 hours to put Favre on their roster, or trade or release him, once he is reinstated. He currently is on the Packers' reserve-retired list.

"That's obviously the first step in Brett coming back, so we'll deal with that when he is reinstated, and we'll definitely have a plan in order," Packers Coach Mike McCarthy said during a news conference yesterday in Green Bay. "Brett Favre is still a very good football player. He is an asset to our football team. Once again, I'm going to answer this question for the last time: The plan for Brett Favre will be discussed with Brett Favre first, and then we'll make it [available] to the public."

There was no immediate indication of when Favre might travel to Green Bay from his home in Mississippi. Favre would have to pass a physical before participating in any practices. The Packers have two practices scheduled for today. They aren't scheduled to practice tomorrow, then have two practices Friday.

If Goodell reinstates Favre today and the Packers take the full amount of time allotted to them and put him back on their roster by the close of business tomorrow, Favre couldn't practice before Friday morning.

So if the Packers want to trade Favre before he shows up at Lambeau Field, time could be running short.

It's also possible, an executive from another NFL team said, Favre merely is attempting to pressure the Packers into releasing him or trading him to a team of his choosing, and he still doesn't intend to report to the Packers. If that's true, Favre could remain in retirement. He could, in effect, block any trade he doesn't like by refusing to report to the team involved.

Other Packers players reported to camp Sunday and practiced Monday and yesterday in Green Bay, with Aaron Rodgers taking over for Favre as the starter at quarterback. Favre agreed in phone conversations Saturday with Packers General Manager Ted Thompson to delay his arrival by a few days to give Thompson a chance to resolve the dispute.

Favre announced his retirement in March but indicated in recent weeks he wants to play this season. With the Packers saying they're committed to Rodgers as their starter, Favre has asked to be released. The Packers have refused. They have been trying to trade him, with sources saying the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and New York Jets have expressed interest. But no team has made what the Packers regard as a suitable offer.

Favre previously indicated he had no interest in serving as Rodgers's backup. The relationship between Favre and the Packers has been increasingly acrimonious of late. But they might be stuck with each other temporarily if Favre reports to camp and the Packers decide to wait for a few weeks to see if Favre's trade value increases with any injuries to quarterbacks on other teams.

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