McCarthy, Thompson visit Favre in Mississippi


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Jan 22, 2006
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McCarthy, Thompson visit Favre in Mississippi

By Chris Havel
Copyright 2006

MOBILE, Ala. — Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy and General Manager Ted Thompson did some recruiting as well as scouting during their trip to the Senior Bowl this week.

Now, it is Brett Favre’s turn to do some soul searching.

Thompson confirmed that McCarthy, the Packers’ first-year coach, made the 100-mile drive from Mobile to Hattiesburg, Miss., Thursday to visit Favre at his home. Thompson paid a similar visit to Favre earlier in the week.

Favre, 36, is in the midst of deciding whether to return for a 16th NFL season. Favre hasn’t discussed his future with the media since the season finale against Seattle, and the team hasn’t made any announcement about the quarterback’s plans.

Thompson declined to offer details of their conversation, except to say he left feeling confident that Favre still believes he can play at a high level “which is a good thing because he can, and he wouldn’t come back if he didn’t think so.”

In a December news conference, Favre speculated that the Packers might wish to rebuild without him, and that perhaps they didn’t know how to tell him. He also suggested his $10 million salary for this season might discourage the team’s interest.

Thompson’s visit may have allayed those concerns.

“He knows he’s wanted,” Thompson said. “I’ve told him we’re doing everything we can to get better and to make this a better team. But I really and honestly think Brett’s going to make this decision based on what’s best for him and his family.”

Clearly, McCarthy and Favre discussed the new coach’s offensive philosophy and how that might affect the quarterback.

“I know Mike wants to be a physical team that runs the ball and relies on play action and puts Brett in position to make plays and win games,” Thompson said. “I do think it’s a quarterback-friendly offense in that it establishes the ability to gain yardage – whether it’s through Texas (pass) patterns or running the ball – so the quarterback is constantly looking at second-and-5.”

Thompson believes a team develops the personality of its coach, and his description of McCarthy’s personality sounded like it could mesh with Favre’s.

“I think Mike’s a very naturally tough guy, and he wants his players to be that,” Thompson said. “Certainly his expertise is in the passing game, and I think we’ll go vertical more than we have in the past and attack defenses.”

The Packers haven’t imposed a deadline on Favre, and Thompson sounded like he is willing to wait at least until free agency heats up in March. But the Packers’ GM also sounded like he believes Favre will decide sooner than later.

“Brett and Deanna will make their decision when they make it,” he said. “But I also think everyone on all sides realizes that at some point a decision has to be made.”

Thompson said he and Favre have spoken regularly since the season ended. They talk about a variety of topics, he said, “and only a small part of it is football.”

“We get along pretty good, I think, and we know where each other is coming from,” Thompson said. “Shoot, we’re both just a couple of good old Southern boys.”

Thompson acknowledged Favre’s presence would be a bonus in the team’s efforts to attract big-name free agents.

“About 90 percent of it, I believe, is the money,” Thompson estimated. “Brett Favre’s being here is a drawing card, and historically the Packers have been really good at (acquiring free agents). We’re a little down right now but it’s temporary.”
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