Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Favre says he didn't give Millen, Lions any inside info about Packers
ESPN.com news services
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Brett Favre insists he's no Benedict Brett.
The New York Jets quarterback denied reports that he called former Detroit president Matt Millen a few weeks ago and gave him and Lions coaches information they could use in a game against the Green Bay Packers.
Favre, who had a bitter split with the Packers in the offseason, said Wednesday that Millen called to invite him to go hunting. The friends then briefly talked about football.
"I didn't give him any game planning," Favre said Wednesday. "I haven't been in that offense in over a year. I don't know what else to tell you. It was pretty simple."
FoxSports.com's Jay Glazer first reported the story on Sunday. ESPN had not independently confirmed it. After the FoxSports.com report surfaced, Favre issued a denial via text message on Sunday, which was reported by Peter King on NBC.
Favre's news conference Wednesday, which is regularly scheduled by the Jets, yielded his first public comments on the report.
Favre also said on Wednesday that Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo called him last week -- not the other way around -- to ask for suggestions on playing through injuries.
"Next thing I know, I'm calling everyone in the league, giving out secrets," Favre said. "I'm willing to help, but it's awful ridiculous."
Favre spent nearly 15 minutes answering questions about the FoxSports.com report Sunday that said he called the Lions before their Sept. 14 game against the Packers. The report said Favre spent more than an hour giving Millen and Lions coaches information on nuances of the offense he used to run. Green Bay won the game 48-25.
"I did not call the Lions, nor did I call Tony Romo," a defiant Favre said. "I don't know what else to tell everyone, but I'm not calling people."
Glazer defended what he wrote.
"I stand by my story 1000 percent," Glazer told The Associated Press. "I guess Brett and I will just agree to disagree on certain things. The way I do my work, I don't go on what just one person told me. I investigated this fully and for quite some time. I spoke with several sources, and when I go with something, I make sure it's dead-on. I think my track record speaks for itself."
Favre said he received a call from Millen while traveling home from the Jets' training facility, and the two spoke for no more than 25 minutes.
"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 I wasn't thinking, 'Now, surely he wants to know something,'" Favre said. "Yeah, I played for the Packers for 16 years and we played against the Lions a bunch, but it's no secret what we did against them. I don't have a playbook from Green Bay. I didn't send the 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."
Green Bay beat Detroit twice last season, including a 37-26 victory in November in which Favre set a team record with 20 consecutive completions.
"We went empty formation and just keep throwing completion after completion," Favre said he told Millen. "They study film, they know what type of plays.
Once again, I don't want to make this any bigger than it is."
As far as Favre knew, he was on the line only with Millen.
"That's it," he said. "Story's not as good now, is it?"
He added that if he were "a guessing man," there's a chance other people might have been listening in on the conversation.
"I don't know," he said. "I'm telling you, I didn't have a game plan in my lap, driving home, saying, 'OK, last year, third-and-3 to [the] 6, we went
hold on, light."
Favre, wearing a green Jets sweatshirt and a navy New York Titans cap, held his composure throughout the news conference. He clenched his jaw a few times and only once raised his voice in anger, when he was told that former teammate Charles Woodson said if the Lions called Favre, it's OK, but not if it happened the other way around.
"Go back and tell Charles I did not call them," an irritated Favre said. "I didn't call 'em."
Favre was asked numerous times if he might have said anything that could be perceived as helping the Lions plan for the Packers. After all, Favre and Green Bay had an ugly divorce in the summer.
"I'm well aware of the perception of what's going on," Favre said. "Aren't you and isn't everyone else? Believe me, I'm trying my best to help this team win, the New York Jets, and spending no time trying to make sure the Packers lose. I've got enough on my plate, believe me."
Both Favre and Jets coach Eric Mangini said that sharing information is common in the NFL, and it isn't against league rules.
"It happens every day," Favre said. "It happens more than you know."
"We do not have a comment," league spokesman Greg Aiello said in an e-mail. "Even if it were true, there would be no violation of league rules."
Favre said the controversy wouldn't change the way he approaches similar situations.
"Nothing was wrong," he said. "If Matt calls me and says, 'Sorry about the big deal, the offer still stands,' I'll take the call. I know he's not in football right now, but, you know, nothing happened. Nothing happened that was any different than happens any other day. But the fact I was in Green Bay for so long and what happened this offseason, that makes it a big deal.
"I am who I am. I'm part of the Jets. I'm trying to get ready for the Chiefs. I don't have time to be dealing with other issues, especially other game plans. I wish them well up there. I really do."
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.
I didn't give [Matt Millen] any game planning. I haven't been in that offense in over a year. I don't know what else to tell you.
--Jets quarterback Brett Favre