Source: Favre has 'itch' to return
July 7, 2009
With his family "tugging" on him to play, Brett Favre has an "itch" to come out of retirement and report to training camp with the New York Jets later this month, according to sources close to the team and player.
Favre has communicated his potential desire to coach Rex Ryan but talks have not advanced to a substantive stage, a Jets source said.
On ESPN's NFL Live, Jets safety Kerry Rhodes said: "I've talked to Brett and I know he has the itch to come back and play. If he will or not, I don't know. But I know he's feeling he wants to play."
When asked how Favre expressed his desire to return, Rhodes said the quarterback said, "I got the itch."
The source said the Jets would be reluctant to open the door for Favre because "Brett retired for the right reasons, even though I know his family is tugging on him [to play]."
Another source conceded Favre was "getting the itch" to play football in 2009.
"As far as I know, right now, Brett Favre is retired and until he tells me something different, that's what it is," James "Bus" Cook, Favre's agent, said.
Favre was unavailable for comment.
Favre had two years left on his contract and was due $13 million for this season. His salary is not currently counting toward the salary cap because the Jets placed him on the reserve-retired list.
If Favre decides that he absolutely wants to play this season, the Jets could be confronted with a sensitive issue. The entire offseason has been spent preparing with their new quarterback to the point where "the offensive scheme has evolved" and, psychologically, closing the door on Favre's legendary 17-year career.
"As a veteran and as a leader of the team," Rhodes said on NFL Live, "I would welcome Brett with open arms. "
He added: "We embrace our new quarterback. Brett is retired, but if he wants to come back, there will be some guys that wouldn't mind it."
If the Jets resist a stronger push by Favre to return, sources speculate that the quarterback could press the team to release him from his contract so that he could seek a job with another team. A league official said that Favre could force a decision by asking the Jets, in writing, to reinstate him to active status. The team would have to comply or release him.
"That's speculation and I wouldn't go there," a team source said. "We value Brett's year with us, we think he values it, and we'd want to protect that. Brett's a high-quality person and he's not going to push it that far. He'll do the right thing [and stay retired]. This was almost predictable, the idea that Brett would get the itch to play as we get closer to the season."