The Brett Favre saga ended in New York late Wednesday night when the Green Bay Packers traded the future Hall of Fame quarterback to the Jets.
But the Favre story took yet another interesting turn on Thursday morning when Bucs general manager Bruce Allen fielded questions from the media and stated that there were never any negotiations between the Packers and Bucs as it related to Tampa Bay's alleged interest in Favre.
"There were no negotiations," said Allen, who answered questions for 15 minutes while surrounded by scores of reporters. "There was never any substance or talk about what it would take for [the Packers] to trade him. All of that was speculation. In the beginning, I think it was clear that it was a bad situation in Green Bay and they had to deal with it in any way they could."
The Buccaneers and Jets had been linked to Favre ever since the 38-year-old quarterback considered coming out of retirement before eventually being reinstated on Sunday.
The Favre-to-Bucs rumors began to gain momentum after the Packers and Favre agreed on Tuesday that the best thing for both sides to do was part ways.
Up to that point, Favre wanted to remain with Green Bay or play for an NFC North rival. When the Packers essentially denied him both of those requests, Favre reportedly became more open to playing for the Jets and Buccaneers.
According to the St. Petersburg Times, Bucs head coach Jon Gruden, who worked with Favre in Green Bay for three seasons, spoke with Favre on Tuesday night.
Gruden neither confirmed nor denied Tampa Bay's interest in Favre, and Allen stopped short of acknowledging that the Bucs ever spoke to Favre.
"I think I said earlier that 18 teams had permission to talk to him, it might have been more," Allen said. "When all of this started when [a local radio station] thought I had dinner with him at Flemings, we had never even talked to him. I can't control the speculation or the rumors, and in this case there were rumors coming out of six or seven markets that I wasn't even aware of the rumor on the rumor."
A plethora of both local and national media reports surfaced over the last two weeks linking Favre to Tampa Bay. In fact, the Tampa Tribune reported on Wednesday that a trade between the Bucs and Packers would be completed within 24 hours and that Favre would be dealt to Tampa Bay.
Allen said the Bucs never offered the Packers any form of compensation in exchange for Favre. He also downplayed Tampa Bay's interest in Favre and explained why he chose not to address the reports and rumors before Favre was traded to the New York Jets on Wednesday night.
"I wouldn't classify [the talks with the Packers] as extensive at all. The Packers may have talked to just about every team in the league. By reading all of [the media's] stuff and the people that are covering it closely, it was clear that the Packers didn't want to send him to any team in the NFC.
"I can't control all of the speculation. We can't control the speculation. There was rumor on top of rumor. Somebody said the wrong thing, and I don't have any control over that. I had two conversations with [Packers general manager] Ted Thompson over the last two months, so I had a very good understanding of what was taking place.
"We never believed that there was going to be a trade to the Buccaneers."
Allen suggested that he is — and will always — remain interested in players that are interested in playing for Tampa Bay, and that appeared to be the case with Favre.
"The fact that a player wants to play for us … once again, I think it's a compliment to this organization," Allen said when asked what Favre's level of interest was in playing for Tampa Bay. "I'm not going to ever turn my back on people who want to come to the Buccaneers and help this team win.
"We're going to listen to people's thoughts. If there is a way that can benefit the Buccaneers, we're going to keep our ears open."
The Buccaneers have five quarterbacks – Jeff Garcia, Brian Griese, Luke McCown, Chris Simms and Josh Johnson – on their roster.
Garcia, 38, led the Bucs to an NFC South division championship in his debut in Tampa Bay en route to making the Pro Bowl in 2007.
In addition to having to talk about his desire for a new contract, Garcia, who has missed six straight days of practice with a calf injury, has had to address questions regarding Tampa Bay's interest in Favre.
The Buccaneer players and coaches have maintained that the Favre situation was not serving a distraction at training camp, and Allen appears to share those sentiments.
"I think you've all talked to our players during the last two weeks. I think you've seen all of their quotes. Everyone has been positive on Jeff Garcia. Everyone said we had no control over it. If you went into our dining room, I think you'd see a lot of people laughing about the speculation that's been out there. It won't affect our football team.
"In our league, we obviously have to deal with this type of thing, whether we're going to draft somebody or sign somebody. If we're rumored to draft a running back, there's speculation and questions about how our running backs are going to handle that. That's going to happen. These players are all professionals and they understand the business. I think you can look at every aspect of our club, from the coaching staff to the organization itself, and I think you'll find that it's been quite positive on Jeff Garcia ever since we acquired him."
To read the entire transcript of Bucs G.M. Bruce Allen's interview with the media on Thursday, click here.
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