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Favre, NYC Mayor: Banter ... and the Bottom Line


The gift bag that New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg presented Brett Favre at City Hall was filled with clever presents, but one didn't go over too well with Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum.

The mayor wanted Favre, who spent the past 16 seasons playing in Green Bay, Wis., to know New York had some great cheese of its own and supplied him with a bag of Junior's Most Fabulous Cheesecakes.

"He has a conditioning run today," Tannenbaum said and everyone inside the famous "Blue Room" laughed.

Mr. T. was joking — kind of. Favre was scheduled to take his conditioning test this afternoon out on Long Island, but he was the guest of the mayor in the city this morning.

"The opening game of the National Football League season is four weeks away, and today New York football fans have the number 4 on their minds for another reason and that's because the legendary 4 — Brett Favre — has now become Jets Favre," said a witty Bloomberg, who matched Jets chairman and CEO Woody Johnson with a green tie of his own.

Favre's green and white, environmentally friendly welcome bag included an apple, a document that said NYC would have a tree planted in his name, and a metro card.

"It has four dollars worth of fare on it. It seems like just the right amount. If you had picked a number higher, we would have gotten more money on your metro card," joked the mayor.

Before Favre took the podium, Johnson described the fans' reactions to the acquisition as "just unbelievable" and indicated it was time to get to work.

"The bottom line, as we all know, is to win games," Favre told reporters, "and that's what I'm here to do."

Although Favre is accustomed to the spotlight, he has been amazed by the coverage surrounding his move to New York.

"I looked over at Mike and said, 'The pressure is just building.' The attention I've got since I've been here has been overwhelming," he said. "I want to thank everyone for that."

Before the ceremony, Favre, Tannenbaum and Johnson met with Bloomberg on the second floor at City Hall. They were situated in the kitchen area of an open room known as the bullpen, which features a large conglomeration of cubicles where city employees (including the mayor) work.

They talked about golf and families and hometowns. At one point, Bloomberg asked Favre if he would be in Mississippi when he retired. And once again, Mr. T, seemingly not bothered by hardly any sleep this week, pounced with a good quip.

"That will be 10 years from now," he said.

When Favre met up with Tannenbaum this morning, they both agreed they could use some food. And much to Favre's surprise, a Jets employee brought the southerner some grits.

"It's the opposite of 'My Cousin Vinny'," he said with a chuckle. "You can get anything in New York."

Favre, who later during the formal news conference presented the mayor with a No. 4 jersey of his own, has his mind set on the short term.

"Let's enjoy this year. The future is now," he said. "I don't have 17 more years to play — I don't think. I will give the New York Jets and the people here in the city the best year possible."

That's music to Jets fans ears. The glimpse of him tossing the ball in warmups Thursday evening in Cleveland was something to behold. If things go right today, Favre will practice Saturday before what is expected to be an overflow crowd at Hofstra.

"My job is to play football and be a leader for these guys. It's that simple," he said. "There is no other reason for me to be up here."

Echoing Johnson, Favre is ready for work. He has a ton to learn and disseminate in a short time with the coaching staff. There will be a clear give-and-take as the offensive system will be adjusted to fit his strengths.

Favre, who was clean-shaven today and wore a blue-and-white-striped Hickey Freeman short-sleeved collared shirt into the city, is in his element when he's with the teammates.

"It takes chemistry and to me that's the most important thing," he said. "You can have all the talent in the world and if the chemistry's not there, it won't matter. I think we can achieve that."

You know Tannenbaum wouldn't mind it if Favre had to make a return City Hall appearance in the off-season. Bloomberg made a promise today to the three-time NFL MVP.

"We want to keep you focused, so here is your key ring," he said. "You will notice it does not have a key on it, but you win the Super Bowl and I promise you that you will get a key to go on your transit authority key ring."

Moments later, No. 4 was out the door and in transit to get to his conditioning run back on the Island. After a crazy off-season and two major news conferences in less than 24 hours, Brett Favre is going to be back playing football real soon and millions can't wait.

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