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Posted by ESPN.com's Kevin Seifert
Whether intentional or otherwise, a group of caravanning Green Bay Packers spent part of Tuesday painting quarterback Brett Favre as a retired player who misses the game -- and not one who is trying to get back into it.
Mark Murphy, the Packers' new president and CEO, told the Green Bay Press-Gazette that "no player leaves the game gracefully." During a promotional visit to Fond du Lac High School, Murphy added: "It's kind of the nature of what makes great players great, is they're competitors and they always want to compete and they want that next challenge, and it's hard to find that next thing that's going to give you that excitement and adrenaline. That's what we're seeing a little bit here."
Later, Murphy said: "I keep going back to his retirement announcement and how sincere and heartfelt that was. I think it's pretty reasonable that, as an organization, we're going to move on."
Murphy's sentiments -- echoed by Bob Harlan, his predecessor -- may well represent the Packers' true interpretation of Favre's situation. But it also positions the organization for the moment when -- and if -- Favre publicly announces his plans to play. (Or, at least, formally requests the Packers remove him from their reserve/retired list.)
The Packers know their least painful scenario is for Favre to remain retired. They also know how difficult it will be to win the public relations battle if Favre presses the issue at a time when the organization, in Murphy's words, is moving on.
Murphy's response reminds the public that four months ago, a teary Favre said on national television that he didn't want to play any longer. The Packers took Favre at his word, installed Aaron Rodgers as their starter and began the journey into a new era. Eventually, the Packers will consider the issue a matter of Favre keeping his word.