NFL AM: Brett Favre is Finally Forgiven


Favre is Forgiven

Packers fans began to turn on Brett Favre when came out of retirement in 2008, ultimately forcing Green Bay to trade him to the Jets to make way for Aaron Rodgers. That frustration turned to borderline hatred one year later when another flirtation with retirement (not to mention a masseuse) led to Favre being released from his Jets contract and joining the rival Vikings as a free agent.

When Favre’s first season in Minnesota included two wins over the Packers and a trip to the NFC Championship Game, the cheese heads were unanimous that Favre would never be welcomed in Title Town again. That long-standing ice finally thawed over the weekend when Favre was inducted into the Packers Hall of Fame.

The Packers sold approximately 67,000 tickets to the event, which saw No. 4 get a standing ovation that was hardly guaranteed. It was certainly deserved, though, after a stint in green and yellow that saw Favre win three MVP awards and a Super Bowl title.

“That’s got to rank right up near the top [of my career highlights],” Favre said Sunday after his charity flag football game at the University of Wisconsin’s Camp Randall Stadium. “The emotions were far greater than what I thought they were going to be. And that’s a tribute to the fans. It really is. [It was] amazing.”

The event marked Favre’s first return to Lambeau Field in seven years. It won’t be his last, however, as he will be back on Thanksgiving night when his No. 4 jersey becomes the sixth in team history to be lifted onto the stadium façade.

Another event could be in the works for next year, as well, when Favre is widely expected to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility.

Heck, even his charity flag football game became a must-see event as Favre led his squad to a 38-32 victory over a team quarterbacked by another former NFL great, Donovan McNabb. The fans roared as Favre threw touchdown passes to old-time favorites Antonio Freeman and Dorsey Levens.

At least his latest performance won’t spark more comeback talk.

“I don’t believe I’ll be making a comeback,” Favre said afterwards. “My feet are killing me. But it was fun to be with the guys.”

Gresham Close to Settling In

Former Bengals TE Jermaine Gresham will not be without a team much longer. Still recovering from a herniated disk in his back, the former first-round pick is meeting with other teams and will visit the Cardinals this week to see what kind of role is available for him in Bruce Arians’ offense.

Arians asks his tight ends to to more blocking than anything else. It’s not a role Gresham can’t handle, as evidenced by the fact he ranked as the league’s third-best blocking tight end in 2014, according to Pro Football Focus. But Gresham may want more opportunities to catch the ball after averaging 56 receptions over the last five seasons.

Gresham recently visited the Saints, as well, and impressed team officials enough to merit a contract offer. He is still exploring his options, though, with the goal of picking a new team before the start of training camp.

The Saints still have an opening at the position after trading away Pro Bowler Jimmy Graham earlier this offseason, although the bulk of Graham’s targets are expected to go to third-year tight end Josh Hill.

The need is almost as strong in Arizona after John Carlson retired and Rob Housler left as a free agent to join the Browns.

Cincinnati head coach Marvin Lewis has indicated the door is still open for Gresham to return to the Bengals, as well, so the tight end figures to have plenty of options by the time he is ready to make a decision.

“He’s had inconsistent play, but he’s played at a high level,” Lewis said earlier this offseason. “He’s a Pro Bowl player.”

The talent has never been a question, although fans in The Jungle have sometimes questioned Gresham’s heart. That was certainly the case last season when Gresham sat out a Week 15 game against the Browns with a toe injury and skipped the playoff loss against the Colts due to his ailing back.

That “soft” perception has not cooled the interest in his services, apparently.

“He’s a man of many, many, many, many, many, many moods,” Lewis said.

White Stumps for New Jones Deal

Falcons receiver Roddy White is campaigning for his running mate, Julio Jones, to get a new contract before the start of training camp.

“If I was the GM, I would get a deal done with Julio now,” White told ESPN’s Josina Anderson on Friday. “I want to make sure he’s paid. That’s my guy.”

The Falcons were holding off negotiating with Jones until long-term deals were struck with fellow superstar receivers Dez Bryant and Demaryius Thomas. Now that Bryant and Thomas have both agreed to five-year, $70 million contracts, the framework is in place for Jones’ new deal.

Falcons GM Thomas Dimitroff has already stated Jones’ injury history will not be held against him in negotiations; the former No. 6 overall pick has already missed 15 career games due to injury.

Dimitroff described Jones as “a very important part of our building and evolving as a championship-type team.”

Jones has remained mostly quiet in his pursuit of a new contract. He was a full participant in Atlanta’s offseason program despite entering the final year of his contract, stating the need to be there for his teammates.

Now, as White is proving this week, his teammates as seizing the opportunity to be there for him.

“The more [the Falcons] wait, the more it’s going to cost them,” White said. “It’s important that (Julio) feels comfortable.”

Jones is expected to get a new deal before fellow 2011 draftee A.J. Green. Both Jones and Green are likely to demand annual salaries between the $14 million given to Bryant and Thomas and the $16 million awarded to Calvin Johnson back in 2012. However, if either Jones or Green were allowed to hit the open market, he would quickly become the highest paid receiver in league history.

As White suggests, it would behoove their respective teams to pay now and save later.

Want to talk more about these and other headlines? Join Michael Lombardo for his weekly NFL Chat on Friday at 2pm EST. But you don’t have to wait until then … you can ask your question now

About Michael Lombardo

Michael Lombardo

Michael Lombardo has spent more than 10 years as a team expert at, primarily covering the Chargers, Cardinals and Panthers. He has been published by the NFL Network, Fox Sports and other venues.