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Favre in the City: 'So Far It's Been Great'


Favre fatigue? Well, maybe only for the guy who wore the red No. 4 most of the afternoon.

All the folks in the green and white or green and gold 4's plus all the others who made up the Jets' training-camp-record crowd estimated at 11,500 just got the party started at Hofstra University this afternoon.

"I'm not surprised by the response from the fans — it's great," said Favre, no stranger to adoring throngs of media or fans, except in the heart of Long Island. "There's been a lot of ups and downs not only the last week but the last couple of months. I think everyone was kind of ready to just get on to football. I was overly excited as I started practicing. I'm going to pay for it tomorrow ... I feel rough."

Favre was talking about his body and specifically about his right arm, which he admitted he pushed more than normal for a first camp practice because "I didn't want to look too bad."

He didn't, at least according to the thousands bouncing in the bleachers and ringing the Hofstra soccer stadium who reacted to every Favrean filip. An overthrow of David Clowney drew an electric roar and groan. A Chris Baker drop generated multi-decibel boos for the normally Velcro-handed TE. A feathery 25-yard completion into Jerricho Cotchery's upraised hands drew a lusty chorus of "Jerri-cho Cotch-ery!"

But there was a definite feeling on the field that could have been captured over the Jets' sound system by the "Twilight Zone" theme. The fans loved having Favre as their signalcaller, and so did his new teammates, but the players also felt a touch of the surreal.

"It's kind of different for me," Cotchery said afterward. "I would watch Brett all the time on TV when I was growing up. I never thought I'd be playing on the same team with him."

Even TE Bubba Franks, Favre's former Green Bay teammate whose lockers are next to each other (and who didn't get to hook up today only because Franks was sidelined by a tweak), noted his QB's long, strange trip.

"I didn't want to get caught up in it," Franks said of the hope that he and Favre would play together again. "There had been speculations all off-season. I'm one of those guys — I believe it when I see it. Now I believe it."

Franks said he didn't talk to Favre before Wednesday's late-night trade with the Packers, but the QB did reach out to one of the current members of the Jets, in fact to one of the men who would be one of his protectors if the deal went down.

"I did speak to Brett," left guard Alan Faneca said, adding the conversation came the night before the trade and was about "My transition here, how are the guys — very basic questions."

Today's events were still football for Favre, at least for as long as it was football. When the postpractice news conference began, with the QB under the media tent with many reporters along the fenced-off podium and a raised platform of TV cameras 10 yards away in the sun, came more new sights and sounds.

As he started to answer his first question, the megaspeakers beleched one loud snippet of feedback, then another, with the second bringing a trademark Favre raised left eyebrow. One TV questioner wanted to know, "If this was a movie script, how would this end?" (If he were a tree, what tree would he be?) Favre's initial response: "Is that like a trick question or a prediction or something?"

Among the still photographers working the perimeters of the stage: none other than Woody Johnson, the Jets' chairman and CEO, who borrowed the camera of photog Al Pereira and snapped off four candids of the man he was of course instrumental in bringing half a country, from cheese country to the Big Apple and environs.

Earlier in the day head coach Eric Mangini repeated his view that he thinks it's "very realistic" that Favre can learn everything he needs to learn to be effective as the starting QB in the Jets' season opener against the Dolphins and their new starter, Chad Pennington, at Miami (and stated that yes, Favre, would be the starter in the preseason home opener against Washington on Saturday).

Favre gave his own take on a similar question about how quickly he can master coordinator Brian Schottenheimer's scheme.

"I'd be foolish to think opening day I would know this offense like I've known the offense that I've been in in the past," he said. "I've always felt like in any offense or defense throughout the NFL, there's way too much volume — the coaches have way too much free time. All I'm saying with that is you don't have to have 1,000 plays to be successful. You have to run five or 10 of them very well. Bottom line is you run 70 plays in a game, you repeat half of those.

"It's a little overwhelming if you let it be. I was really surprised that today I was as effective as I was. I'm not saying that I was good. I'm just saying that I was able to take a snap, call a play, we were able to break a huddle, and I was able to complete passes in some sort of rhythm. It's been difficult. It's a pretty difficult offense to learn. I'm sure the one that I had been in for 16 years had been difficult too. It will take some time, but I think we'll be fine.

And Favre gave a similar I-was-a-little-dizzy-there-but-I'm-OK-now response about what he expects from the New York area once this infatuation with every move he makes is replaced by the winning and losing of NFL games.

"I guess when I figure that out, I'll tell you," he said. "Right now, I've been here a few days. There's nothing more for me to do but try to get this offense down, get acclimated to the guys and the system. That will take a while and that will be tough.

"So far, it's been great."

Brett on Chad

Perhaps it's the rallying of one member of the NFL's Quarterback Club to the aid of another. Perhaps it's the fact that in two head-to-heads with Pennington's Jets, Favre's Packers were 0-2 and were outscored by 80-27.

But Favre gave a telling response to a question about facing Pennington, released Friday, and his new team, the Dolphins on opening day.

"I have nothing but the highest regard for Chad," Favre said. "He's an extremely bright guy. The knock on him was his arm wasn't that strong. So what? I can throw it through a wall, but I don't win every game I play in. It doesn't matter. He's very effective. I haven't heard one person say anything about him negatively. High-character guy, a lot of class. I'd just like to beat the guy for a change."

Perhaps in four weeks, Brett.

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