Favre backs down (a little)

Posted by ESPN.com's Kevin Seifert

For those keeping score:

In June, Brett Favre asked the Green Bay Packers if they'd take him back if he came out of retirement.

The team told Favre it had moved on. Aaron Rodgers was its new starter.

Earlier this month, Favre asked the Packers to release him from their reserved/retired list so he could play for another team if he chose.

The Packers declined. Depending on who is telling the story, the team either told him he could return in an unspecified role or tried hard to convince him to remain retired.

The next move seemed to be Favre's. Would he force the Packers' hand by applying for reinstatement? (The team would be obligated to add him to its roster or release him.) During an interview with Fox News this week, Favre would not commit to that scenario.

Today, agent Bus Cook told ESPN's Chris Mortensen that Favre is in no rush to apply for reinstatement. The most logical explanation: Favre doesn't want to give the Packers a chance to respond by adding him to the roster and inviting him to camp in a role other than unquestioned starting quarterback.

Cook told Mortensen that the Packers have the next move, presumably either to reverse their decision on his status or to seek trade offers.

During this ordeal, Favre's best leverage has been to force -- or simply threaten -- a training camp circus by applying for reinstatement and reporting to camp knowing that Rodgers was the starter. But based on his comments this week, and Cook's statement to Mortensen, Favre isn't interested in that route. If reinstated as something other than the starter, Favre probably wouldn't report to training camp at all -- technically exposing himself to daily fines for "holding out" while under contract.

It appears the Packers will avoid the worst-case scenario, at least for now, and brings the issue back full-circle: Favre's best chance of playing in 2008 -- barring a reversal from the Packers -- is via trade. But at this point, the chances are growing that Favre could remain retired.