Fans Rally for Brett Favre

XXX XXXSenior Writer IJuly 14, 2008

Green Bay Packers fans rallied outside of Lambeau Field on Sunday in a demonstration designed to pressure the team into reinstating Brett Favre as their starting quarterback.

The rally cam after the Packers released a statement on Saturday clarifying that they do not intend to release Favre.

The crowd of more than 100 chanted, "We want Brett," and carried signs reading, "Favre for President" or "Favre Forever." Many in the parking lot wore No. 4 jerseys, tossed footballs, and grilled.

"We've always appreciated the passion of our fans," the Packers said in a statement. Team spokesman Jeff Blumb said there would be no other comment.

Favre retired March 6 after 16 seasons with the team. Last week, he changed his mind and asked for his release because it appeared the Packers were not receptive to having him play again.

On Saturday, general manager Ted Thompson and coach Mike McCarthy said they didn't plan to grant Favre's request. And if Favre did rejoin the team, it would be as a backup to Aaron Rodgers.

"We've communicated that to Brett, that we have since moved forward," Thompson said Saturday. "At the same time, we've never said that there couldn't be some role that he might play here. But I would understand his point that he would want to play."

The Packers said if Favre wanted to play for them, he had the chance when he told them a few weeks after his tearful goodbye news conference that he was having second thoughts.

With Thompson and McCarthy preparing to fly to Mississippi and seal the deal on a comeback, all Favre had to do was say yes. He didn't.

At this point, Favre is not being offered a defined role with the Packers if he returns, and the team is not inclined to release him so he could sign with a division rival. A trade may be the best resolution.

Thompson and McCarthy declined to discuss that possibility, and Thompson said he had not received any inquiries from other teams as of Saturday morning.

"Quite frankly, it's a little gut-wrenching as an organization to go through it, and certainly for Mike and myself," Thompson said. "This stuff hurts a lot of people. I mean, it hurts. I'm not talking about physically hurting, but the sensitivity. We understand where the fans are coming from. This is a hot-button issue that surpasses anything I've ever gone through."