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Mike McCarthy Press Conference Transcript - Aug. 5

Read the complete transcript of Head Coach Mike McCarthy’s press conference following practice on Tuesday afternoon.

(Why was Brett Favre not at practice?)

Brett and I, just to give you a summary of what has gone on since yesterday, Brett and I started to meet last night at 6:00 p.m. We met extensively; I would say approximately four hours. He met also last night with Ted Thompson for about an hour, and then we met again this morning and just the result of his physical was a factor. That had nothing to do really with being at practice, but just to conclude, Brett wanted to go and continue some discussions with Ted Thompson and his family, and that's what went on this afternoon.

(Are trade talks imminent?)

I'm not going to get into that. Just once again, we had a ton of conversations. Just like I stood here after the Family Night scrimmage, my whole purpose of talking with Brett when he was here, we had obviously a very long conversation. I thought it was an extremely healthy conversation. I would probably classify it as a conversation that everything you wanted to say, everything you wanted to ask went on in that conversation. I thought it was a conversation that was brutally honest. We agreed to disagree. We stood on opposite sides of the fence on a number of issues, and I respect the way he feels, but the one thing that I was looking for out of that conversation was he ready and committed to play football for the Green Bay Packers? And his answer frankly throughout the conversation was his mindset, based on the things that happened throughout this whole course, that's not where he was. So with that, we didn't really move ahead. We talked about all of the different options; I'm not going to get into that. I'm not going to get into the personal part of our conversation, but the essence of the whole thing was I had a list of questions for him to answer those questions. I had questions that I felt were important for him to answer. I had questions for him from the locker room, from his teammates, and he did a great job. I thought it was a very respectful conversation. The feedback was back and forth. But once again, his feeling was, I don't want to speak for him, but based on where he is, the path that it took to get to this part, he wasn't in the right mindset to play here.

(Has Brett played his last game as a Green Bay Packer?)

There has been no decision made, but that's where we concluded in our conversation, that basically he was not in the right mindset to play here because of all of the things that went on. That's where we left it and I went to practice. Now, we talked about speaking again tonight. That's where I am at this point.

(When you say not in the right mindset, does he have animosity toward the franchise?)

I'm not going to speak for him. Those are the words that were used when we concluded. Once again, I thought it was a very healthy conversation. Frankly, for two people to sit and talk for six hours obviously was productive. There are plenty of positive things that come out that conversation and there are probably plenty of negative statements that were in that conversation. Like I said, it was brutally honest. It depends on what story you want to write, but that's really where we concluded about the topic of playing football here.

(Did you take that as his final answer, or is it subject to change?)

I think that's probably the reason we talked so much. We talked about everything that has happened since this whole process started. Probably not once, but twice we re-hashed all of the different things that went on. We agreed, we disagreed, we disagreed, we agreed, but really it came back to what was best for the football team. I told him flat and straight, just like I talked about here in the Family Night scrimmage, my whole focus was on he was one of 80. He was on our 80-man roster, and for us to move forward as a football team with his role being defined, frankly where is your mind at? From that, we went back and talked about everything that happened. It's very personal for him, and that's where he is. I don't want to speak for Brett.

(What did you tell him his role would be?)

We didn't get that far, like I just said. The fact was he was not in the proper mindset to move forward to be part of the football team. We talked about competing for the starting quarterback, but we really didn't get much into it because, once again, we talked about all of the things that happened up to this point.

(So competing was an option on the table?)

That was something that we would have talked about if he would have got to the right mindset. He's a football player, OK? I'm not doing the PR thing anymore. I'm coaching the football team. The football team has moved forward, OK? The train has left the station, whatever analogy you want. He needs to jump on the train and let's go, or if we can't get past all of the things that have happened, I need to keep the train moving, and he respects that. He understands that.

(With all of the things that have happened, does he have a right to be upset?)

I'll just say this; if you would listen to his explanation of things. I respect his opinion, I respect his feelings. I don't agree with some of the things, but I'm not going to dispute how he feels and how personal it is to him. That's his right. I think the ability to sit there and talk as open and as frank that we did, we were able to accomplish a lot of things, and I felt that we were in a good place when I went to practice. Now what has happened since then, I haven't been brought up to date. I thought it was very constructive.

(Did you feel that the meeting turned into discussing all of the events and hashing out feelings?)

That's what it turned into. That was not my intent when I started the meeting. My whole intent was, 'was he coming into the locker room to play for the Green Bay Packers, and where is your mind at?' That was the first question I asked him, and we could never get back to that point where he was comfortable. It's very personal for him, and understandably so. I have had a very up-front seat throughout this whole process; he has been right in the middle of it. It's emotional for him, very personal. I don't want to be redundant; I don't want to speak for Brett. I respect the way he feels, but he is in a tough spot.

(Given the way he feels, are you better served to move on without him?)

Well, given his mindset, why would I let anybody of a negative mindset in our locker room? I don't want to classify him as a negative mindset; it's very personal. I'm talking about what we're trying to accomplish. He is in a place right now that he has to make decisions for himself, so my whole goal with talking with Brett was, are your ready to come back and be the guy Thursday night? That's one I said; 'are you going to that guy Thursday night, when I leave my office, and I walk back by the quarterback room, and you're in there studying film.' That was a very good question for him. He's in a tough spot right now. I don't want to sit up here and keep expressing his feelings. He's in a tough spot.

(Did he ever explicitly tell you that he wants to play for Minnesota?)

I don't want to get into specifics of other options and things like that. He's emotional. There are a lot of things that were said. Like I said, we can make it look very good or we can make it look very bad, and I think you can do that any time two people talk for the amount of time that we talked about a very sensitive issue. I thought it was very healthy and I thought it was very productive.

(Is there any scenario where you would trade him to the Vikings?)

I'm not going to discuss trade talks and things like that.

(How has this situation and the time it has taken affected your ability to prepare and lead this team?)

We had some off time yesterday, so I was able to prepare for it and make sure everything was in place for last night as far as my personal responsibilities. We had an install this morning, the red zone. I thought our coaching staff had our players fully prepared. The offense didn't practice very well today. I thought the defense had a heck of a day. I would say this is part of my job. He's one of my 80 players on the roster.

(What changed in your mind that there could be an open competition after you said all along that Aaron Rodgers was the starter?)

I don't agree with your question. What I said all along was Aaron Rodgers is the starting quarterback on our football team. He was on our 80-man roster. Until Brett Favre reinstated I was not going to participate in hypotheticals. I said that every single time I stood in front of the media because why would I let hypotheticals in our locker room? I wasn't going to do it, and you guys did a great job. You hit me from every angle, but I wasn't going there. Why should I have those conversations and then have our guys be put through the process of answering those questions? So I told the team once again, the only thing we need to worry about is Brett Favre here, not here, and I think our team did a great job of handling that. Now that he is here, we've had to address some things as a team.

(Fans want to know why he isn't the starter for the Green Bay Packers?)

That's a great question. I think you need to ask Brett. I'm sure he said it, it's pretty complex as far as the way he feels, the chain of events, the path that we have taken to get here. It's not as simple as number four running out there playing football. He's a great football player. I loved coaching him, loved seeing him play. We talked about all of those things, but it's a situation that is extremely personal for him. The path to get to where we are has done some damage. That's where he is.

(We will ask him, but from your standpoint, why isn't he the starter?)

My direction has never changed. I have answered the question. I have prepared Aaron Rodgers to be the starting quarterback since he retired. We went through the process, he reinstated. It would be no different than any other player to walk through the door that wants to know how he fits in. He needs to go compete for a position. We couldn't come to the right mindset. I didn't get the answers to the questions that I was looking for to open that competition up, so why would I do that to my football team? That would be poor leadership. It's not a popularity contest. I wasn't going to go there.

(Did he feel a sense of entitlement for the starting job?)

No, he was great about it. The question of Brett Favre's ability to compete? He was all for competing. He had no problem with any of that. He would have come in and competed for his job and I'm sure it would have been a hell of a fight. But no, he had no problem with that at all.

{sportsad300}(So he couldn't give you an affirmative answer that he would be that guy in on Thursday nights watching film?)

It wasn't that he couldn't do, ... he just felt that he wasn't comfortable going in that direction, for a number of different reasons. As the night progressed, I thought we made a lot of progress, but at the end of the day we slept on it and came back this morning and kind of picked up where we left off. That's just where he is mentally the last I spoke to him.

(Any plans for Brett to speak to the media?)We have not talked about when he would speak to the media. That's not a conversation ... unfortunately, we talked for six hours, but we did not talk about you guys. I apologize.

(Was part of the problem that there was a lot of he said, she said during this process?)

The he-said-she-said thing definitely took a toll on Brett, there's no doubt about it. I told him frankly that, the communication I think, both sides, we agreed on this, we both wish maybe things could have been said a different way, handled different. But this is the spot that he's in.

(Is his mindset not right for playing here or playing period?)

I would just say here in Green Bay. He wants to play. I told him that through the whole process, I did not think he was going to play this year. Just listening to all the conversation, the number of things that have happened between March all the way to this point, and that was one of the things, I said prove me wrong. Tell me I'm wrong, that you're playing for all the right reasons. I thought he was playing, I thought he was extremely emotional. I thought his decision to play was emotional. He told me that was not the case, and I respect that. I told him over and over again, I would like to be wrong, but I never thought through this whole process that he was going to play this year, and if I'm wrong, then I'm wrong.

(Can he still change your mind?)

I don't think so. I don't think he's in that place. We talked about a lot of things. We talked about a lot of things. We talked about him coaching high school football, we talked about a lot of things. This is something that has been very stressful for him. It's been very stressful for his family. He feels the same way the Green Bay Packers do. He would like to resolve this as soon as possible.

(Can it be patched up?)

I don't have an answer for you. We'll just continue to communicate and see where the next step takes us.

(What do you do with him if he is on the roster but not of the right mindset?)

Technically, in his physical, he had a lower abdominal strain. Our plan for practice today was for him to go through rehab, so that was actually his plan for today. But then it went to the business direction, which I like to refer to, because it didn't have to do with practice. That would have been the plan. He would have been day to day for us as far as a practice structure.

(Will he be taken off the roster?)

I don't have the answer to that. There's just a lot of conversation going on right now.

(Was it a specific answer to a specific question that he wasn't able to give you or was it more general?)

Just in fairness to Brett, I think a lot of those conversations need to stay personal. They were very direct questions, and he was very direct with his answers. I'm just trying to do what you do. You give me different questions, I'm trying to give you the same answer differently.

(Do you get the sense that he is conflicted about his own plan?)

I think there's a lot of emotion in what he's going through right now, and rightfully so. It's been a very stressful time for him and his family. He's in a tough spot. There's a personal side to this for everybody, and we have a strong working relationship, and it was hard to see him express some of the things he did, whether I agree with them or not. He's in a tough spot right now.

(Did you try to patch things up between Brett and Ted?)

Well, we had talked about a number of things. We talked about everything throughout our time last night, and actually, he went down and spent some time with Ted. He spoke to Ted for about an hour, and then he came back, we had Sammy's pizza. Give Sammy's a little plug, about 10 o'clock, and we spoke again for about another hour. My understanding is him and Ted had a very healthy, honest conversation also.

(Did you have a lot on your chest that you wanted to get out?)

I'll just say this. It was a conversation that I think at the end we both felt very good about it. Because everything I wanted to ask, everything I wanted to say, I had that opportunity. We were brutally honest with one another, and like I said, I think a lot was accomplished.

(Did it get heated? Was there yelling?)

No. We were fine. We're adults.

(How hard has this been on you?)

Did Jason Wilde put you up to that one? No, I'm fine. Time commitment is always a challenge. We're in training camp, just like everybody else. Our schedule has been laid out for six months. Anytime you spend six hours doing something you didn't plan on, it's a challenge. But we have a great coaching staff, I think our players have handled it very well. It's been challenging here today, and we'll continue to deal with it as a football team.

(What was the plan for the competition?)

I don't want to get into that. Aaron Rodgers doesn't need ... Aaron Rodgers has done everything right. I understand the attention he gets and the position he's in, but he's done everything right to this point, so why would I put him through any more than he needs to go through?

(What did you think of the atmosphere out at practice today with people chanting for Brett when Aaron was taking snaps?)

We don't have to do crowd noise this week. It was like working on the road. It's fine. Once again, I think emotion is good. I prefer positive over not positive, but hey, they care. That's one thing you can always say about our fans. They care.

(This has been a big story throughout the NFL. Have you heard from any other coaches?)

I've had a lot of private support. So it's been good. It's been great.

(Do you know how long is Brett in town?)

I do not.

(Is the possibility of him playing here this year over?)

That's something that we'll continue forward. Once again, I just told you how I left it. I left it with him, I guess it would have been about 12:30, 1 o'clock. I haven't spoken to him since practice.

(Did you get any signals from the players in the locker room that they wanted this to be over?)

Absolutely. The players want it resolved. And you can talk to Brett about it, he feels bad about it. It's time for them to talk about somebody else, and we talked about it as a football team. We're a good football team, and we have an excellent opportunity here to be a very good football team in 2008. We've had an extraordinary challenge dealing with this situation, a lot can be learned from it, but they definitely want this thing resolved as soon as possible.

(What makes you so sure Aaron will get the job done?)

You just have to believe in a number of things. Number one, I think he's prepared himself for this opportunity. I think he has the tools, physically, mentally, emotionally. I mean, you talk about what he's been challenged with emotionally of late, this is great (training). Who's had better training to play in the National Football league than Aaron Rodgers, and I think he's handled it well. Is he still a first-year quarterback? He's going to have some bumps in the road, I'm not naïve to that. But once again, we need to focus on playing better defense, playing better special teams, and playing offense the way we need to play to score points, and that will never change. I believe in Aaron because he's very talented, but he has prepared himself for this situation. He's had the opportunity to study behind a legend for three years. I think he's taken full advantage of it.

(Did you talk to Aaron today?)

I asked if he was having a good day. He said yes. He said are you having a good day. I said yes. He's fine.

(Brett is on the roster, but not at camp. Will he be fined?)

He was excused from practice today.

(If he's not at practice tomorrow, will he be fined?)

Ask me tomorrow. I mean, let's go. C'mon, we gotta do better than that.

(Is he going to be paid for today? Will he be paid for tomorrow?

He was excused. I don't even know if they get paid in training camp. You're asking the wrong guy.

(Do you expect him at practice tomorrow?)

I'll have a talk with him tonight. Really, we'll see what happens tonight.

(This team went to the NFC Championship last year and he was the runner-up for MVP; for some fans this seems like insanity...what's the short answer?)

I think insanity is strong. I think it's unusual. There's no doubt about it. I've never been a part of anything like this, or seen anything like this. But I think ... I don't have a short answer for you.

(What is the long answer?)

We don't have enough time.

(Did the Packers do a good enough job of making him feel wanted or welcome?)

That's part of the issue with him, quite frankly. Listening to him talk about that, you respect his opinion. Frankly, I told him, I'll take responsibility, because I had a voice in the building. I never thought he truly was going to play. I thought he was emotionally driven for other reasons. He was very convincing last night, and again this morning, that he wants to play. He's thought about all the other possibilities and other options, but that's really kind of what happened there.

(If you had told him he would be the starter, would he be here?)

Last night? No, I don't. I don't think so. Just based off the way he talked about competing for the job, that was not an issue with him. It was not an issue with Brett. He said hey, I'll go out there and compete. He was very positive about Aaron. He thinks he's doing a really good job. He's been impressed with the way, he's watched him mature. I wasn't here for Aaron's rookie year. But he had no qualms at all about competing for his job. That was not an issue at all.

(If he couldn't get past all of that, why is he here, because he was reinstated?)

That's part of it. Frankly, I really don't want to speak for Brett. I'm trying to speak from our side of it, as much as possible. I'm sure he'll speak to everybody here at some point.

(After talking to him for six hours, do you think he is thinking clearly?)

He has a lot going through his head, and I think there's ... there's a big ... I think it's emotional. I think it's emotional, just talking to him. He's in a tough spot. I hate to be redundant here. I wish my vocabulary was a little wider. But he's in a tough spot right now.

(You're going to talk to him tonight ... what else is there to say?)

You ever talk to Brett Favre? Seriously, he's a dynamic individual. Very endearing. Two hours of conversation is not out of the norm. There's a lot we could talk about.

(Are you concerned that fans will paint you and Ted as the guys that drove Brett out of Green Bay?)

That's not a good feeling, but I don't view it that way. I can only trust the truth. I've been part of a lot of conversations. I don't feel that's the case.

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