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Sherman Not Pressed To Find Favre's Replacement


Meeting with members of the state media Monday afternoon in a press conference to discuss the upcoming NFL Draft, Green Bay GM/Head Coach Mike Sherman understandably couldn't and wouldn't say who the Packers will select with their first-round pick this Saturday.

But what he did suggest is that the Packers are in no greater hurry to find Brett Favre's heir apparent at quarterback than they were a season ago.

That might come as a surprise to some, considering the overwhelming media attention bestowed upon the topic of Favre and his eventual, inevitable retirement in recent months.

But having met with Favre this spring at his offseason residence in Hattiesburg, Miss., Sherman isn't declaring the quarterback situation code red.

"We visited at good length and he's excited about coming back, excited about this year," Sherman said of his meeting with Favre.

"If he feels this way (after the season) next year, he'll keep playing and keep playing and keep playing, as long as he feels good.

"And he feels good -- doesn't feel beat up, banged up. (He's) looking forward to the season."

Undoubtedly the Packers are just as eagerly anticipating the return of Favre, who at 33 years old continues to be one of the league's most durable and dominant players.

If last season's speculation about Favre's future was a reminder that the three-time NFL MVP won't be the Packers' quarterback forever, it also may have inaccurately depicted Favre as already having one foot out the NFL door and on his tractor in Hattiesburg.

If that were the case, finding Favre's replacement might be considered the team's utmost need in this year's draft. But when asked Monday to name the Packers' top needs heading into the weekend, Sherman listed several positions, none of which was quarterback.

Sherman's goal for the 2003 draft is simple: to upgrade the team the best way possible by taking the best players available to the Packers when it's their turn to pick.

That blueprint could lead to drafting a quarterback, whether as an intended heir to Favre, an immediate upgrade at backup, or both. But Sherman said it would be a mistake to enter the draft head hunting at any position.

"We always say we really want to take the best player (available)," Sherman said. "Because you never know: Brett Favre could get injured on the second play of the second game ... So you have to take the best player you can at that point (in the draft). You hope you can address some (current) needs at the same time.

"The GM in you wants to take the best player. The coach in you wants you to address the needs. But I do think you have to take the best player, because if you don't you'll have regrets down the road because the best player will serve you a lot better than making a reach on somebody else."

Whether the best player available to the Packers in the first round will be a quarterback remains to be seen.

But when asked if the Packers would consider trading backward from their 29th pick to earn more later-round draft choices, Sherman indicated that the Packers' current first-round position might not generate an elite-level quarterback.

"I think it's presumptuous to a certain degree to think that someone would move up to the 29th spot and give up enough juice to get there," Sherman said of the theoretical trade. "I don't see that happening unless there's a quarterback or a very specific player (available for the other team). I think those types of players are going to be gone well before the 29th pick."

In terms of the overall talent at quarterback, Sherman said this year's draft pool includes some "very interesting" candidates, including " a few quarterbacks that fit the type of quarterback that we need in our system."

But in calling the overall pool "good, not great," Sherman suggested there might be value in the later rounds.

A later-round pick might not land a quarterback that could replace Favre immediately, but that's not a scenario Sherman is being forced to consider.

"Brett enjoys playing the game," Sherman said. "He hasn't indicated to me that he doesn't. So I don't see things changing here in the immediate future."

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