NFL Nation: Deanna Favre
1. Margin of error in Green Bay: Given their list of injuries to prominent players, the Packers probably are fortunate to remain in playoff contention at 8-6. None of their losses this season have come by more than four points, and their total margin of those six defeats is 20 points. But there is no longer any wiggle room. The Packers will be eliminated from the playoffs if they lose Sunday to the New York Giants. They need victories in their final two games to ensure a wild-card berth. Given the unpredictable nature of an NFL season, all any team can hope for is to be in this position. There is no sense lamenting how injury-free the Chicago Bears were on the way to their division title. The Packers have an opportunity and need to capitalize on it.
2. Candid speech in Minnesota: Shortly after he tweeted that the field at TCF Bank Stadium was "unplayable," Minnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe said he had been asked to stop publicly discussing field conditions. Later, ESPN's Ed Werder reported the Vikings instructed all players to stop criticizing it. To be fair, most private companies would do the same thing. You aren't guaranteed free speech as part of employment, especially if it casts your employer in a poor light. But at the same time, there was a strong sense that NFL and team officials were glossing over potential safety issues with the field by expressing unfounded confidence and revealing only vague details about the preparation process. Muzzling players only added to that suspicion. Why shut them down if there is nothing to hide?
3. Concerns about the Chicago Bears' receivers: We spent a fair amount of time last offseason debating the merits of the Bears' receivers and whether they would overlook the skills of tight end Greg Olsen in the Mike Martz scheme. The Bears kept telling us they considered the sum of the parts to be greater than any one individual, and on cue, they have three wide receivers with 36 or more catches. Johnny Knox is nearly on pace for a 1,000-yard season. Knox, Earl Bennett and Devin Hester each have three touchdown receptions. And while Olsen has been limited to 35 receptions, he has a team-high five touchdowns.
1. Holiday cheer in Oconomowoc, Wis.: We noted Monday that Vikings quarterback Brett Favre wore a towel with a backwards "4" in honor of 5-year-old Anderson Butzine, who has a terminal brain tumor. Favre and his wife, Deanna, visited Butzine's family in suburban Milwaukee last Friday. If you haven't already, take a few minutes to watch this homemade video of Favre's visit. No matter what you might think of Favre, the impact of his visit is undeniable. If you're interested in more of Butzine's story, be sure to check out his CaringBridge page. And then be sure to give your children an extra hug today.
3. Ndamukong Suh, Detroit Lions defensive tackle: Although he hasn't had a sack in three games, Suh continues to have a precedent-setting season. In an ESPN Insider piece this week, Vince Verhei of Football Outsiders suggests Suh is having the best rookie season of a defensive tackle in at least 13 years. Football Outsiders measures defensive tackles partly with a metric known as "defeats" -- the sum of plays that result in a loss of yardage, turnover and/or a stop on third or fourth down. Suh has 25 defeats this season, two more than Shaun Rogers had for the Lions in 2001. I think we all know Suh is having a great season, but this analysis helps us put it in some historical context.
The details are posted in a news story on ESPN.com. The attorney for reporter Jenn Sterger is quoted saying: "We're certainly headed in that direction" of an interview. Sterger would be in position to provide evidence and/or corroboration of the allegations, which were first reported by Deadspin.com.
The apparent shift of the investigation from the NFL's personal conduct policy to one of a workplace behavior issue clouds the possible discipline for Favre if the allegations are proved true. Under the personal conduct policy, Favre was subject to a fine or suspension.
Favre has refused on multiple occasions to comment on the issue. He met Tuesday with the NFL's vice president of security. His wife, Deanna Favre, said this week she is relying on her faith to get through this time period but didn't address the veracity of the claims.
Favre has declined on multiple occasions to discuss, confirm or deny the allegations. Thursday morning, his wife did the same.
Appearing on "Good Morning America" and "Fox & Friends," Deanna Favre said she would not discuss anything personal. She said she is handling the situation "through faith" but offered no other comment during interviews previously scheduled to promote a new book.
So if you're scoring at home, here's what we know:
- No one involved in the story has publicly denied it.
- The NFL is interested to the extent of determining whether the allegations, if true, violated its personal conduct policy. If so, commissioner Roger Goodell would have the option to fine or suspend Favre.
- Favre met with NFL vice president of security Milt Ahlerich on Tuesday. The sideline reporter, Jenn Sterger, has thus far not cooperated with the investigation but this week hired a New York-based law firm to represent her.
- Deadspin.com, which originally reported the allegations, revealed this week that the Ahlerich also wants to speak to its top editor about the information.
By the way, Deanna Favre's book is titled "The Cure for the Chronic Life." Promotional material bills it as "a guide for the journey out of hopelessness."
Posted by ESPN.com's Kevin Seifert
The Packers just released the statement below. Note the fifth paragraph, where the team says Favre would become an "active" member of the team if he is reinstated.
The Green Bay Packers are aware of the latest developments regarding Brett Favre.
Brett earned and exercised the right to retire on his terms. We wanted him to return and welcomed him back on more than one occasion.
Brett's press conference and subsequent conversations in the following weeks illustrated his commitment to retirement.
The finality of his decision to retire was accepted by the organization. At that point, the Green Bay Packers made the commitment to move forward with our football team.
As a retired player, Brett has the option to apply for reinstatement with Commissioner Goodell. If that were to occur, he would become an active member of the Green Bay Packers. As always, the Packers will do what's right and in the best interest of the team.
As with all Packers greats, Brett's legacy will always be celebrated by our fans and the organization, regardless of any change in his personal intentions.