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Sunday, January 18, 2009
Black and Blue all over: Staying in your lane

By Kevin Seifert
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Kevin Seifert

As the Brett Favre saga lingered into Green Bay's training camp last summer, there were some observers who wondered if the situation had grown so big that the Packers' equivalent of an owner -- Mark Murphy -- should step in himself and end it.

Individual shareholders own the Packers, but as the Packers' president and CEO, Murphy essentially runs the team. Most NFL owners prefer to allow their staff to make day-to-day decisions, but the magnitude of the issue suggested executive intervention might be necessary.

But other than an ill-fated meeting with Favre to offer a retirement package, Murphy stayed on the sideline and waited as general manager Ted Thompson eventually traded Favre to the New York Jets during training camp. In a Q&A with Pete Dougherty of the Green Bay Press-Gazette, Murphy said he believed it was important to stick to a philosophy whereby "football people make the football decisions."

Here is the full transcript of his answer:

"First of all, it goes back to the principle that football people make the football decisions. There was never real certainty -- was he really coming back? At some point there was, but when that was, I can't remember. It's easy to look back, but I think we managed a difficult situation well. The tough thing is, many people look at it and say, 'You lost this year, so you made a bad decision.' But as I look at it, and both Ted and Mike [McCarthy] have mentioned it, we solidified the quarterback position for the next decade. If you don't have solid play at the quarterback position you don't have a lot of hope for the future. That's what gives me confidence in the future. Not only the way Aaron [Rodgers] played on the field, but also the way he handled the situation off the field were real positives in a season where there weren't a lot of positives. We'll see. Obviously only time will tell, but it has stabilized and solidified that position, which is crucial for the future."

Murphy was in a tough spot. Relatively new one the job, he didn't want to set a precedent for meddling in football issues. But the Favre situation was a once-in-a-career issue. It transcended the team and was threatening to damage the entire Packers brand. And one of Murphy's jobs without question is to protect the brand.

Continuing around the NFC North on NFC championship Sunday: