Verbatim: Favre news conference
Posted by ESPN.com's Kevin Seifert
New York Jets quarterback Brett Favre spoke extensively Wednesday about a September conversation with former Detroit president/general manager Matt Millen. We'll have more on this story as the day progresses, but for now here is a transcript of the applicable questions from Favre's news conference:
Did you share information with the Lions?
Brett Favre: Well the only thing I'll say about that -- and of course I've heard the reports. That week, Matt Millen called me. Matt and I are friends. He invited me to come to his place to hunt. I think he lives about an hour from here in Bethlehem. I'm sure his intentions were to fish me for information. [He] just asked me how we attacked them last year. We attacked them pretty good. I didn't give him any game plans. I haven't been in that offense for over a year. I don't know what else to tell you. It was pretty simple.
Does it anger you?
BF: It wouldn't anger as much as, 'Here we go again.' I wish those guys well in Green Bay. I have a lot of friends, not only as far as teammates are concerned, but coaches and just people in general there. And it's unfortunate the way some of the things went down this offseason. But no hard feelings. It's business. I'm happy to be here. I'm trying to get ready for the Chiefs. Learning this Jets game plan has been difficult, and to be spending whatever amount of time giving away another game plan is totally not true. So once again, it's not anger as much as it's ridiculous from both sides. It's unfair for those guys up there trying to play, too.
So to clarify, did you share information with Millen or the coaches?
BF: I talked to Millen for 15-20 minutes. From the time it takes me to get from here to my house -- which in New Jersey could be 10 minutes, and it could be a little bit longer. It was not a long conversation. We did talk about hunting. He said he had a bulldozer or some tractors if I felt like I needed to go and relieve some tension. And in the process, [he] wanted to know ... more or less the question he asked was, 'Is there anything in particular that you guys did to us last year, or how you looked at us, or whatever.'
I couldn't tell you what Detroit runs this year. I haven't watched them. And I can vaguely remember what they did last year. The only thing that I know about that game last year -- the one in Green Bay didn't really matter late in the year -- the first one, I think I had 22 straight completions. That's about all I can remember. And I know we won the game.
Did you tell them some of the strategy you used in Green Bay to beat them?
BF: We went empty formation and we just kept throwing completion after completion. They study film. They know what type of plays. Once again, I don't want to make this any bigger than it is. I don't know what else to tell you. I haven't sat in their meetings to know what they're calling or how they're going to attack or how they're going to use Aaron Rodgers. I can assure you it wasn't anything. It would almost be embarrassing to say that if I gave more, it was the wrong information. Because I think they beat Detroit rather soundly. And I bet it was pretty much the same things we've run in the past.
Did you talk to Lions coaches also?
BF: If someone was in there, I couldn't tell you. And let me clarify this. I did not call the Lions. Nor did I call Tony Romo, so ... I don't know what else to tell everyone. I'm not calling people.
When you hear a former teammate use the term 'sabotage,' does that upset you?
BF: Accuse me of sabotage?
Sabotaging their game against the Lions.
BF: Did they win?
So that was the extent? Just Millen? No talks with players?
BF: That's it. The story is not as good now, is it?
Do you think because of your name more is being made of this?
BF: You tell me. I know a couple weeks ago when we played Arizona, we asked Calvin Pace if there was anything in particular that we needed to know. Let's see if this story turns out to be bigger.
But that's common in the league, when you acquire a player and are going against his old team. But for a player not to be involved in a game is a little more unusual.
BF: Ask around. When Matt called me and was talking about hunting, and told me that he lived an hour from here, don't think for a second that I wasn't thinking, 'Surely he wants to know something.'
Yeah, I played for the Packers for 16 years. We played against the Lions a bunch. It's no secret what we did against them. 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. It's common. It happens every day. It happens more than you know. Don't think for a second that when Mike McCarthy left in '99 and went to the Saints, and we played them the next year and they put it to us, that he didn't tell his guys what he thought. There's nothing wrong with that. There's nothing wrong with it.
Does it bother you that players in Green Bay think you went out of your way?
BF: Well I think the players in Green Bay, to be totally honest with you, know me and know what type of guy I am, what type of teammate I was. It's no different than the guys here. They're hearing things, and I don't want to say brainwashed, but whoever the player was that said 'sabotage,' he didn't make that up. That's coming from somewhere.
Driver and Jennings, great players. Charles Woodson and Al Harris, great players. Aaron Kampman, great player. And I can go on down the list. I want nothing but great things for those guys. I have said this the last several years, that that was the most talented team that I ever played on. Good luck beating them. Good luck.
I think those guys know that when I played with them, I would do anything I could for them. And they know how the game works. If someone asked Driver, 'Hey, anything in particular about Brett?' And he'd say, 'Yeah, he'll throw it from anywhere.' Is there anything wrong with that? No. Would I think anything less of him? No. It's just th
e way the thing is.
Given how this has blown up, would you think twice about taking that call now?
BF: No. Because Matt Millen is a friend of mine, as a lot of these guys are. Darrell Bevell, friend of mine. Marty Mornhinweg, Andy Reid, Mike Holmgren, Matt Hasselbeck. I could go on down the line. If someone called me ... Tony Romo asked me how I played with a broken thumb. Anything in particular or any secrets I could give him? And I said I just tried it. I 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 that's awful ridiculous.
The perception is that you're trying to hurt the Packers.
BF: I'm well aware of the perception and of what's going on. Aren't you? Isn't everyone else? Believe me I'm trying my best to help this team win, the New York Jets. I'm spending no time trying to make sure the Packers lose. I've got enough on my plate, believe me. I wish those guys well.
And I'll say it again, it's unfortunate the way some things went down. I was at fault, I feel like they were at fault in some areas, but it's over and done with. It's business. It happens all the time. But I guess because it's Brett Favre, it's a bigger deal. But Brett Favre has enough on his plate trying to figure out how to beat the Chiefs this week. So I'm well aware of what's going on. That's why this is a big deal. It's a bigger deal to other people than it is to me.
Charles Woodson said that if they called him, it's OK. But if he called them, it's not OK.
BF: Then go back and tell Charles I did not call them. I didn't call them.
He didn't know.
BF: Well, now he knows.
You sound angry.
BF: I guess I'm a little bit angry. Because I think my reputation has been well-respected throughout the year. Anytime that's questioned or the type of teammate I am, it does anger me. I'm not going to lie to you. You ask Driver, you ask Woodson, you ask Al, you ask Aaron Kampman, ask those guys what type of player I was and what type of teammate. I would hope they would say exactly what I think they would say.
Is there a chance some Lions coaches were listening on Millen's speakerphone?
BF: If I was a guessing man, I would probably say, yeah.
You would know if you were on speakerphone.
BF: I was on speakerphone in my truck. I don't know. I'm telling you. I didn't have a game plan in my lap driving home, saying, OK, last year. third-and-6 we went. ...
You just thought you were talking to Millen?
BF: Didn't matter. When we talked 15, 20, 25 minutes, whatever it was -- not, I think the report was 90 minutes or something -- it was not that long. Half of it was football, and half of it was, 'My son's a lawyer here in Florham Park, I'm not that far away, if you want to come down and hunt, get away, feel free to. And hey, anything in particular you guys did to use last year that stands out?' Besides me having 22 straight completions? Not really. First time in my career. Were there other people listening? It wasn't like, 'OK, Brett hold on, let me get everybody together.' No. It wasn't that.
So there wasn't anything that could be perceived as you helping them get ready for the Packers?
BF: I wouldn't think so. I hadn't watched any of the reports. Only what I've heard and have been briefed on. I feel like the president. I've been briefed on certain things. No. I don't know if there was reports that I sent game plans or computer programs or anything like that.
Nothing to help them prepare with inside information?
BF: I can think of numerous times in the past when we've fished for information from guys that are either on our team or coaches that have coached there from the previous year. I don't remember it being quite as big a deal as this one.
Would you be reticent to share information because of that?
BF: Nothing was wrong. If Matt calls me today and says, 'Hey man, sorry about the big deal. The offer still stands.' I'll take the call. I know he's not in football right now, but nothing happened. Nothing happened that was any different than happens any other day. But the fact that I was in Green Bay for so long, the way it happened in the offseason, that makes it a big deal. I am who I am. I'm part of the Jets, trying to get ready for the Chiefs. I don't have time to be dealing with other issues, especially other game plans. So I wish them well up there. I really do.