When Brett Favre began his weekly news conference today, he was not angry. By the time he walked off the podium some 18 minutes later, he was miffed.
Just four days before the Jets try to get back into the win column against the Kansas City Chiefs, the first 15 minutes of Favre's media session focused on his former team, the Green Bay Packers, and their NFC North rivals, the Detroit Lions.
Last weekend, Jay Glazer, FoxSports.com's NFL senior writer, reported about a phone conversation Favre had with former Lions team president Matt Millen:
Several sources have told FOX Sports that Favre earlier this year phoned the Detroit Lions prior to their battle versus Favre's old team, the Green Bay Packers, and gave them a rundown of the nuances of what Green Bay does on offense. According to the sources, Favre actually spent over an hour on the phone with Lions coaches, who were connected with Favre by then-team president Matt Millen.
Favre acknowledged a conversation between himself and Millen, but he said it was Millen who called him and actually invited the future Hall of Famer to come to his house and hunt.
"I'm sure his intentions were to fish me for information, just ask me how we attacked them last year — we attacked them pretty good," Favre said. "I didn't give him any game plans. I haven't been in that offense in over a year. I don't know what else to tell you. It was pretty simple."
The game in question was a Week 2 battle in which Green Bay defeated Detroit, 48-25. It should be noted that Packers QB Aaron Rodgers put up sensational numbers in the win, completing 24 of 38 for 328 yards with three touchdowns.
"I talked to Millen for 15, 20 minutes, from the time it takes me to get from here to my house — which in New Jersey could be 10 minutes or it could be a little bit longer," Favre said. "It was not a long conversation. We did talk about hunting. He said he had a bulldozer or some tractors if I need to go relieve some tension. In the process, he wanted to know …"
Millen wanted to know how Favre and the Packers prepared for the Lions on Nov. 22, 2007, a game in which Favre put on a brilliant show in the Motor City. He threw for 381 yards and three TDs in a 37-26 win and also set a career high with 20 consecutive completions.
"It's no secret what we did against them. I don't have a playbook from Green Bay — I didn't send a playbook," Favre said. "I didn't call him and say, 'If you do this, you're going to win the game.' "
The questions wouldn't cease, though. Favre doesn't see anything wrong with conversing with a friend and he made it clear that he didn't reach out to Millen or anyone in the Lions organization. He also cleared up another rumor involving a talk he had with Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo.
"Tony Romo asked me about how I played with a broken thumb — anything in particular, any secrets I could give him." he said. "I said I just tried it, wore a splint on my thumb and it was worth a try. The next thing I know, I'm calling everyone in the league and giving out secrets. I'm willing to help, but it's awfully ridiculous the way things…"
And you couldn't clearly make out his finish to that sentence because another query followed. During the Q&A, Favre said that Millen could have been on speaker, indicated this practice of talking about teams amongst friends is not uncommon, and denied he wishes misfortune for his former club.
"I'm trying my best to help this team, the New York Jets, win and spending no time trying to make sure the Packers lose," he said. "I've got enough on my plate, believe me. I wish those guys well and I'll say it again. It's unfortunate [this summer] the way some things went down. I was at fault, I feel like they were at fault in some areas."
"But it's business. It happens all the time. And I guess because it's Brett Favre, it's a bigger deal. But Brett Favre has enough on his plate trying to figure out how to beat the Chiefs this week."
After 15 minutes and 25 seconds of talk regarding the Favre-Millen communication, Newark Star-Ledger beat reporter Dave Hutchinson broke up this no-hitter with a question about football — more specifically, the Jets' inability to pick up long gainers in the passing game.
"I'm sure after we left the Arizona game, everyone thought we were on track," Favre said of the 56-point explosion in Week 4. "We rushed for 240-something yards the other day and 7.3 yards a carry. I told Schotty [coordinator Brian Schottenheimer], I told Eric [Mangini] and I'll tell anyone who listens — I'm here for one reason and that's to win. I do not care how we do it.
"I even got somewhat of a block the other day. I was as excited about that play as any play I've had this year and will continue to be excited if we win ballgames."
Although sore, Favre dismissed any notion that his legendary right arm was injured.
"I can play today," he said before walking off the podium and heading to practice.
After 18 NFL seasons, Favre doesn't usually get too excited about practice anymore. But you sensed that he was eager to get out on the field this afternoon.
"I guess I'm a little bit angry because I think my reputation has been well-respected throughout the years," he said. "Anytime that's questioned or the type of teammate I am, it does anger me. I'm not going to lie to you."