CHRIS JENKINS AP Sports Writer GREEN BAY, Wis.
Brett Favre's decision to file for reinstatement will force the Green Bay Packers to do one of three things: release him, trade him, or allow him to report to camp. If he reports, it potentially could cause a major distraction for a team that committed to moving on after he retired in March. NFL spokesman Randall Liu con- firmed that Favre sent his reinstatement paperwork to the NFL offices Tuesday. He now is awaiting approval from commissioner Roger Goodell, a step that is considered a formality, but wouldn't be forthcoming until Wednesday at the earliest. Once Favre is reinstated, the Packers will have 24 hours to decide what to do with him. "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 after practice Tuesday afternoon. ESPN first reported that Favre faxed the letter earlier Tuesday. If Goodell reinstates Favre on Wednesday, his return to the practice field for the Packers could come Friday. The Packers practice twice Wednesday but can wait a day to put Favre back on their active roster. The team does not have a scheduled public practice Thursday. Throughout Favre's latest round of flip-flopping on his football future, Packers officials have said that Favre had the option of rejoining the team but Aaron Rodgers would be the starter. "Brett Favre is still a very good football player," McCarthy said Tuesday. "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 aware to the public." McCarthy also said Rodgers will start all of the preseason games and probably get more playing time than Favre used to in the preseason. "He'll be starting all of the games as the starter," McCarthy said of Rodgers. "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." Rodgers insisted he isn't bothered by the potential of having Favre lurking over his shoulder. "You know, I'm not as affected as you guys (the media) think I am or should be," Rodgers said. "They told me I'm the starter, and until that changes, that's going to be my focus." Rodgers said he is confident in his abilities and the firm commitment he has received from Packers coaches. "I've been empowered as the starting quarterback and until that changes, I'll say it again, that's going to be my focus," Rodgers said. Rodgers said he and Favre have "never had a problem" and would probably "joke around" when they saw each other again. "We've got a great relationship," Rodgers said. "If he's here, we'll welcome him back." But some Packers players seemed skeptical that Favre would remain the backup if he ended up reporting to camp and wasn't traded away. "I don't know about that," wide receiver Donald Driver said. "But we'll see. We'll see what happens." Cornerback Charles Woodson who chanted "We want Brett!" As he left the practice field Tuesday, but later laughed it off as "just having a little fun" with reporters seemed to think Favre could play his way into the position. "Who knows how Brett feels about that if he's coming in as being the backup, or coming in and a potential trade is going to happen, I don't know," Woodson said. "But if he comes in as the backup, he just comes in and plays the way he knows how to play. And if it's better, then the organization has another decision to make." But Woodson said players aren't taking sides. "There's no reason for anyone in the locker room to take sides or say in the media they prefer one guy over the other," Woodson said. "It's A-Rod's job, and at this point, it's his job to keep." McCarthy said Favre's presence wouldn't become a distraction. "I'm not concerned about it," McCarthy said. "We have talked about it as a football team. The players are handling it totally different than I think the perception is out there. We're about playing football. We're about getting ready for our season upcoming. Everybody is aware of everything that is going on. There are no ill feelings toward Brett Favre, and he will be welcomed back into our locker room." Of course, it won't come to that if the Packers can work out a trade deemed acceptable to Favre in the next few days. The Packers have no plans to grant Favre the release he has requested, suspecting that he would immediately sign with division rival Minnesota; the Packers have filed tampering charges against the Vikings. The team owns Favre's rights until his contract expires after the 2010 season, making a trade the most likely outcome acceptable to both Favre and the Packers. But maybe not for some of his old teammates. "He would look ugly in any other uniform, plain and simple," Driver said. "Every guy that leaves here and gets another uniform, that's what I tell them: They look ugly"