Brett Favre doesn't seem at home in today's corporate era.
The colorful, outspoken Green Bay Packers quarterback is a throwback who would have been comfortable dueling Bobby Layne on the field a generation ago and then tossing down cold brews with him afterward.
Favre has the habit of saying what he really thinks.
When he arrived in training camp last week, he admitted he felt last year's march to the Super Bowl was easy. He even conceded that the Packers coasted through the playoffs.
"It was tough, but it did seem kind of easy. You take those three games where everyone was hurt and we played bad -- other than that, we kind of coasted through. During the playoffs, we coasted through. When it's going on, you don't want to say that, but now that it's over, [it was]," he said.
Favre is right about that. Once Dallas self-destructed, there was no team in today's watered-down NFL to give the Packers a good game in the playoffs.
But Favre is one of the few players who would ever admit that.
He's the same way when he's asked about his personal life. He'll freely admit he and his wife, Deanna, are trying to have more children.
"We're trying. Deanna got kind of sick awhile back and it was kind of scary. That's when we found out she couldn't have any [children] during the time we were trying. The doctor said they somewhat got it cleaned up, and if in six months she doesn't get pregnant, we'll have to see another doctor. But I'd love to have a couple of boys running around. Brittany [their daughter] is constantly writing us little notes that she wants a little brother or sister," he said.
Favre, who won a battle with painkillers last year and was ordered by the league not to drink alcohol for 10 months, said he's back drinking now, but is trying to stop.
"If I want to go out to a bar and drink a beer, I can do that. But for my personal well-being it hasn't been good to me or my family or a lot of people in this world. I'm just going to try my best to quit. It won't be easy. Everything I go to involves basically having a drink. These social functions, everyone is sitting around having a drink. People, it's not their fault, but they come up to you and say, 'Do you want a drink?' We're going to work on it," he said.
For Favre, the easy part is playing football. This year, he's got a chance to join Bart Starr, Bob Griese, Terry Bradshaw (who did it twice), Joe Montana and Troy Aikman in the select club of quarterbacks who won back-to-back Super Bowl titles.
"I want to do it again. Mentally, I think I'm prepared for it," he said. "I know I am. Physically, there's no doubt I'm prepared for it. I think our team is prepared for it."
So does general manager Ron Wolf.
"I still honestly believe there are roads that man hasn't traveled yet," Wolf said. "As long as that fire still burns in his belly, we'll go down those roads with him. I think he can do things that have never, ever been done before here in this game."
When free agency started five years ago, there was a lot of speculation that Green Bay would have trouble luring free agents to the small Wisconsin city of slightly under 100,000 residents.
Once the Packers lured Reggie White, though, it proved to be no problem, and now that they're champions, players are even taking less money to play there.
Defensive tackle Gilbert Brown turned down a lucrative Jacksonville offer to stay, and linebacker Seth Joyner turned down better offers to sign with the Packers. It helped that White, his teammate in Philadelphia for seven years, gave him a glowing recommendation.
The amazing thing is that the Packers got him for a cap number of $400,000 -- not much above the veteran minimum of $275,000. Although the contract is officially a four-year, $6 million deal, that's just a paper number so they can spread Joyner's signing bonus of $800,000 over four years. Joyner, who's making a $200,000 base, will earn $1 million this year. The Cincinnati Bengals offered more, but Joyner wanted a chance to win a Super Bowl ring.
"I've made money throughout my career, so money wasn't the overriding factor," he said. "I just want to put the ring on my finger before I walk away from the game."
Same old Colts
It'll be 25 years next week -- July 26 -- since Bob Irsay bought the Los Angeles Rams and swapped them with Carroll Rosenbloom for the Baltimore Colts.
Irsay, who died in January, had the team for 12 seasons in Baltimore and 13 in Indianapolis and had just two playoff victories in 1995 to show for those 25 years. The Colts promptly pushed the coach who got them those two victories, Ravens coach Ted Marchibroda, out the door by insulting him with a one-year offer.
The Colts, noted for giving away John Elway and giving up a king's ransom for Eric Dickerson, haven't changed their operation since Irsay's death.
The Trev Alberts case is the latest example. Beset by injuries in his first three years, Alberts was ready to retire this year. But the Colts wanted part of his original $3.2 million back because he had played only half of his original six-year contract.
That prompted Alberts to show up at camp, where he promptly injured his shoulder again. He's deciding whether to have surgery, but he can't play, and the Colts are now on the hook for his $875,000 base salary this year because he got hurt in camp. Their hard-line position has cost them even more money.
On top of that, quarterback Jim Harbaugh then lashed out.
"There's something screwed up," Harbaugh said. "You get tired of looking at the same guys on the sidelines collecting paychecks. Something is obviously wrong. Trev told me he didn't want to play, and that he begged not to play, and that they were going to make him come back because of his signing bonus."
Of course, if the Colts had let Alberts retire, he wouldn't be collecting any more checks.
Meanwhile, the Colts have another flap on their hands because Roosevelt Potts, back from a drug suspension, says he no longer wants to play for the team. The Colts' position is that he has to play for them if he wants to play again.
Potts' agent: Ted Marchibroda Jr.
As the owner of six Ravens PSLs, agent Tony Agnone was happy when Virginia linebacker Jamie Sharper fell to the Ravens on the second round of the NFL draft. He had no vested interest because Sharper was represented by Brad Blank of Boston, but he figured Sharper would make an immediate impact on the team.
Agnone still figures Sharper will make a big impact this year, but now he has a vested interest. Like another Virginia linebacker, James Farrior of the Jets, Sharper parted with Blank and changed agents. Farrior went to Ralph Cindrich and Sharper hired Agnone.
Now Sharper is holding out because he feels he deserves more than than so-called slot for the fourth player in the second round because he's penciled in as a starter. So Agnone finds himself getting flak in his own town.
Agnone and his partner, Howard Shatsky, can live with that, but they're annoyed that quarterback Vinny Testaverde criticized the holdouts of Peter Boulware and Sharper and pointed out he'd never held out.
The difference is that when Testaverde was made the top pick by Tampa Bay in 1987, there was no rookie salary cap. His six-year, $8.197 million deal immediately made him one of the 10 highest-paid players in the league at the time, so there was no need to hold out. His average of $1.366 million was close to the figures earned by Jim Kelly and Dan Marino, who had signed deals averaging $1.6 million and $1.5 million in 1986.
Agnone said, "The sign of leadership is getting all the facts before coming to a conclusion."
When Yatil Green of the Miami Dolphins became the second first-round choice to sign on June 13, he said, "I was totally against holding out. I didn't want to have problems."
In retrospect, it's unfortunate that Green didn't hold out for a week or so because he now has a big problem. He's out for the season after tearing a knee ligament in practice Thursday.
"I'm very disappointed," he said.
Washington Redskins general manager Charley Casserly on the holdout of defensive lineman Sean Gilbert, who wants $5 million a year: "We're not going to pay him $5 million or anything close to that."
Pub Date: 7/20/97