Packers Head Coach Mike McCarthy was working out on Monday morning when he first saw the Brett Favre interview that has become the hot topic among the Packers faithful.
In an interview with ESPN's Chris Mortensen on Sunday night, Favre said he would opt for retirement if he had to make a decision "right now."
McCarthy, who met with Favre on Thursday at his home in Hattiesburg, Miss., urged people not to blow Favre's words out of proportion.
"It's January," McCarthy said. "There's no need to overreact."
McCarthy said Favre has plenty of time to mull his playing career. He and General Manager Ted Thompson, who met with Favre earlier, have not set a timeline by which they must have an answer. They do, however, expect to know by the first round of organized team activities, and they will finalize the date of those practice sessions in the next week.
The scene in Hattiesburg unfolded just like one would expect. Favre jumped off a tractor to greet McCarthy. In what the head coach deemed as a "very positive" talk, they met for two-and-a-half to three hours, discussing family and other personal topics as well as football. McCarthy, Favre's quarterbacks coach in 1999, said he never directly asked Favre if he was coming back.
"It was almost like two old friends or co-workers that were getting caught up on a lot of things," McCarthy said.
They ended their meeting by shaking hands and planning to keep in touch. Favre delivered a final message.
"It would be fun to work with you again," Favre said. "But this is something I have to work through with my family."
That statement emphasizing his family echoed Favre's comments during his ESPN interview. He said he still possesses the physical skills of a three-time MVP but will make a determination based on personal issues, including his oldest daughter's upcoming graduation from high school. The coaching staff agreed that should be the case.
"Family's more important than football," offensive coordinator Jeff Jagodzinski said.
Favre's statement to Mortensen that caused shockwaves was: "I wish I knew where I stood. If I had to pick right now and make a decision, I would say I'm not coming back."
McCarthy watched the ESPN tape a second time and said he interpreted those statements as Favre speaking candidly as usual.
"I just felt like he was just saying, 'hey, if my heart's not in it 100 percent, I'm not going to do it,'" McCarthy said.
If Favre's heart is not in it and he hangs it up, the offense will not change with Aaron Rodgers at the helm.
"The approach is the same. You try to make sure whoever's there is fundamentally sound," quarterbacks coach Tom Clements said. "Obviously you might have to spend a little bit more time with a younger guy as opposed to an older guy."
McCarthy stressed the comfort level he has with either a player like Aaron Rodgers with one year of NFL football under his belt or Favre, who has 15 years.
"I have a confidence level in our quarterback group," McCarthy said.
Clements, hired on Sunday, is about to begin the process of becoming acquainted with those players. Because he served as Buffalo Bills offensive coordinator the last two years, Clements did not scout Rodgers coming out of college. Having drafted quarterback J.P. Losman in the first round in 2004, the Bills did not have a need at that position.
The new quarterbacks coach does not a have previous relationship with Favre either. But like so many others, he has appreciated him from afar.
"I've been a fan of his," Clements said. "He's a great player and a lot of fun to watch."
Favre's recent comments have some worried they will not able to watch him play again, but McCarthy cautioned about jumping to such conclusions. He emphasized retirement would be Favre's decision right now.
"He's a Hall of Fame quarterback. He deserves the time to sit down with his family and make a decision," McCarthy said. "He doesn't have to make it today."