The Packers are giving Brett Favre his locker. All they need now is the woodworking company to remove it from the premises -- and one of those giant bows you see in car commercials.
After watching the story of why the legendary quarterback's locker remained intact mushroom into a national debate earlier this week, Packers general manager Ted Thompson said the club will remove the locker following the team's June 17-19 mandatory minicamp and give it to Favre as a gift. A replacement will then be installed at the entrance of the locker room in time for training camp at the end of July.
"Obviously I didn't realize it was going to get this kind of attention,'' Thompson admitted Thursday afternoon. "We talked to Brett and (his wife) Deanna several weeks ago, and we thought that anybody who played 16 years here as well as he did might want his own locker. I think it makes it a little easier, quite frankly, for the next guy to go into there.''
Thompson said the team never planned on encasing the locker in glass and keeping it in the locker room. He said he came up with the gift idea while talking with coach Mike McCarthy shortly after Favre's decision to retire in early March.
"I was just sitting here with Mike and said, 'You know what we ought to do ....' I mean, you can't really put anybody in his locker,'' Thompson said.
Asked why he or McCarthy, who was asked specifically about Favre's locker at the NFL meetings in late March and at the rookie orientation camp in early May, didn't make the plans known sooner, Thompson replied, "There was no deep dark secret. I probably messed the timing up. I'm sorry if I caused any angst for anyone.
"Obviously the story sort of got the better of us and took on a life of its own.''
Said McCarthy: "I think it's been totally blown out of proportion. It's been discussed with Brett, and we can talk about it at a later date, but its really a construction concern (that) is the reason why the locker hasn't…
Greetings, everyone. Jason White here. (That's how a blog on USAToday.com referred to me yesterday, so I'm going to try to cultivate that pseudonym in hopes that all the you-hate-Brett-Favre Packers fan mail will go to him instead of me.)
OK, that probably won't work. But as I try to put into perspective all the attention the blog about Brett Favre's locker has received in the past 48 hours or so -- and yes, there's been some feedback accusing me of hating Favre, which I don't and which was in no way the point of the column, if you read it -- I can't help but wonder how it all happened.
In case you missed it, I blogged about Favre's locker still being intact in the Packers' locker room, and my opinion remains that it's unfair to Aaron Rodgers and would be better suited for the Packers Hall of Fame in the Lambeau Field atrium. The story was picked up nationally, in particular by ESPN, which made mention of it on radio (Mike & Mike, Colin Cowherd), TV ("NFL Live," "SportsCenter," "Around the Horn," "First Take") and the Internet (ESPN.com).
My personal favorite, though, was ESPN.com's Page 2, which has an interactive "Brett Favre Build-A-Shrine" where you can click and drag various items into Favre's locker.
Two things bothered me about all this attention, though. First, I've written about Favre's locker before, including in the Wisconsin State Journal almost a month ago from the post-draft rookie orientation camp. But ESPN and others seized on my opinionated piece here and ran with it, which gave me new perspective on when players tell me something has been blown out of proportion.
And second, it showed exactly how out-of-whack our priorities can be when it comes to what's newsworthy and gets the most attention in the sports world. While ESPN was going bonkers over the Favre locker story, Packers Pro Bowl defensive end Aaron Kampman was on his way back to Green Bay from Parkersburg, Iowa, where his grandfather had undergone surgery after be…
The Packers can do whatever they want to do with Brett Favre's locker. They can encase it in Plexiglass, erect a statue of him next to it, whatever. It's their locker room.
I have to respectfully disagree with coach Mike McCarthy and the team keeping it intact, as it is was during the Packers' organized team activity practices. Even though the Packers legendary quarterback called it a career in March -- albeit with a few public unretirement ruminations afterward -- his nameplate is still above his locker, and his shoulder pads are still on the shelf.
I think that's wrong. It isn't fair to Aaron Rodgers, who has as tough a follow-up gig as anyone has ever had at quarterback in the NFL. Not only is he following a sure-fire first-ballot Hall of Famer, which has been done before, but Rodgers is following a guy who started 275 consecutive games without missing one with an injury, and he's doing it in a town where Favre is a deity.
Rodgers is trying to play with the specter of Favre hovering over him, and there's a tangible reminder of the guy 10 feet away. To bring Favre back for the jersey retirement at the regular-season opener is one thing; to have his locker still there is another.
The subject first came up at the NFL meetings in Palm Beach in April, when McCarthy asked rhetorically, "Would you want that locker? You've got to be kidding me. We're talking about a couple things."
When I saw Favre's locker was still intact at the post-draft rookie orientation camp in early May, I asked about it again.
WILDE: How come Favre's locker is still intact?
McCARTHY: Who do you want me to put in there?
WILDE: I don't know. But isn't it just a locker?
McCARTHY: I think it's more than a locker, and there's some plans for the locker that will be addressed in the future. But there's nothing else to it. I wouldn't want his locker, especially after his hygiene, my goodness. It's a locker of a very special player in the history of our organiz…
Like Brewers leftfielder Ryan Braun, Ryan Grant had a breakthrough season last year. And now, the Packers starting running back is angling for a new contract, and he may actually cost himself money in the long run -- like Braun might have with his contract with the Brewers -- by signing a deal soon and passing on someday being a free agent.
Grant, who ran for 956 regular-season yards in only seven starts last season and set a franchise record with his 201-yard playoff performance against Seattle, isn't participating in any of the football drills during the Packers' organized team activity practices because he refuses to sign his one-year, $370,000 exclusive-rights free-agent tender.
Instead, Grant wants a long-term deal with guaranteed up-front money. When asked if he expects to have a long-term deal in place in time for training camp, Grant replied, "Yeah, I do. I don't have a timetable. There's no timetable in that sense. I don't have control over that. I'm just trying to do my part and make sure I'm taking part in everything I can.
"I just felt like it was in my best situation to handle this way. I think both sides feel like I'm going about it in the correct way. It's not a matter of unhappiness. There's no hard feelings or anything like that. Not at all. It's just the business."
Grant has next to no bargaining power because the Packers hold his exclusive rights and he cannot negotiate with any other team. And if he signs a long-term deal before camp, he could be costing himself a bigger payday he might've received with a similarly productive season in 2008 as the starter from opening day.
Grant joined the team last year following a Sept. 1 trade with the New York Giants and didn't take over the starting job until DeShawn Wynn went down with a shoulder injury Oct. 29 at San Francisco.
Still, because Grant is doing everything but actually practicing -- he spent Wednesday's practice doing conditioning work with the injured players wh…