Tampa Bay Buccaneers general manager Bruce Allen spoke publicly for the first time at the team's 2008 training camp and addressed the rumors and speculation surrounding the Brett Favre situation.
PewterReport.com has the complete transcript of Allen's 15-minute conversation with the media.
The media's questions are bolded. Allen's answers are in quotations.
How extensive were the talks with the Green Bay Packers about trading for Brett Favre? "I wouldn't classify them 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."
Did you get that feeling in your negotiations with Green Bay that perhaps this was going to be a brutal effort trying to get Favre to Tampa Bay? "There were no negotiations. 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."
So you had absolutely no negotiations whatsoever and there was never any conversation about compensation or an opportunity? "No. None at all."
How far did it get then? "They were looking for a place to send Brett. They found it with the Jets."
How would you classify your interest in Brett Favre in terms of acquiring him? "It never got to that. We always look at any type of scenario we can find that can help the Buccaneers. That is our No. 1 priority – to help this team. If it was going to be a double trade or triple trade in any form that we could help the Bucs, we would listen."
Bruce, let me ask you this then. During this whole week of non-negotiations with apparently nothing presented to the Green Bay Packers in the form of compensation, why let it go this far and go on this long without saying anything? "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."
How much interest did Brett Favre have in coming to Tampa Bay? "There are quite a few players in the league that have an interest in coming to Tampa Bay. Without getting into the tampering rules of the league, I think that's a credit to our team."
From your conversations with Brett Favre, how much interest did he have in coming here? "I'll let him talk about his situation. I think there were about 18 teams that had permission to talk to him. The fact that people want to play here, we consider that a credit to this team and organization."
How did you try to sell Brett on coming to the Buccaneers? "It really never got to any of that. He wasn't a free agent. We never really believed that they were going to release him. The Packers were clear from the beginning that that wasn't their intention. It wasn't that type of process."
Are you saying that there was no offer whatsoever made to the Packers, and that there was no deal from the Buccaneers on the table? "Green Bay never told us what they were even interested in trading for."
Did you make any offers to the Packers for Favre? "No."
How did Jeff Garcia handle all of this speculation? Did people have to talk to him, or did Jon Gruden have to talk to him about it? "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 ever since we acquired him."
Bruce, if you're looking at Garcia, outside of wanting a new contract, what you're telling us is that there was nothing really to talk about with the Green Bay Packers, so Jeff had nothing to really worry about. Did you talk to Jeff during this process to keep him apprised of this? "I never discuss my conversations with players. Sometimes my players discuss things. I wouldn't discuss that. It's a situation where this is a very popular player in our country. The difficult situation in Green Bay might be over now. Hopefully everybody can look forward. What we've been concentrating on is getting our team ready to play our season."
How difficult was it for this football team with all of this speculation, and you guys did absolutely nothing to fuel the speculation or minimize the speculation? What do you think the fallout might be with this football team? "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. 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."
How would saying, ‘Jeff Garcia is our starting quarterback and will be our starting quarterback this season,' – how does that not control the speculation? It would have ended the speculation right there. "I think if you look at the quotes form Coach Gruden and the quotes over the last year or two years. In fact, when Coach Gruden named him the starter at the Chamber meeting a year ago, ‘Why are you going to name him the starter?' Coach Gruden and Jeff's relationship goes back a ways. We are going to compete on the football field. We have 80 guys on the field that are competing to make this football team. The American way is competition, and I don't think any outside forces are going to impact this football team."
Bruce, when do you think you were completely out of Favre negotiations and that it wasn't going to go that way, and when you did you stop any conversations with Green Bay, [agent] Bus Cook and Favre? "I'm not going to get into the specifics, but I think Green Bay has been clear from the beginning with what their intentions were. It was a difficult situation on them. That's why I told [the media] all of the questions really belonged for the Packers to answer."
Bruce, if you weren't going to be interested in acquiring Bret Favre and knew the Packers were only going to trade him to an AFC team, why did you ask permission to talk to him and then have Jon Gruden talk to him?" "I think I said earlier that 18 teams had permission to talk to him, it might have been more. 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."
There was stuff coming out of the Favre camp that specifically said that the Buccaneers are part of the Favre deal. Were they lying? "You didn't hear that from anybody."
(Interrupts) From Bus Cook and Brett Favre. Yes they did. It was from their mouths directly. "The fact that a player wants to play for us … once again, I think it's a compliment to this organization. I'm not going to ever turn my back on people who want to come to the Buccaneers and help this team win."
Do you expect Jeff Garcia to believe what you are saying right now, that you had no interest in Brett Favre and that he was never going to be a part of this team? "I said we never believed that there was going to be a trade to the Buccaneers."
So you did have interest in him? "No, we have interest in anything that can help this football team."
(Interrupts) If you never believed that [the Packers] were going to trade him [to the Buccaneers] then why talk to Brett Favre? Eighteen teams didn't talk to Brett Favre. "Are you sure?"
Yes. Why talk to Brett Favre if you had no inkling whatsoever that the Packers were not going to trade him anyone other than an AFC team? Why go down that road? "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."
Is it then a fair assessment to say that you were sitting on the sidelines waiting to see if maybe something were to fall apart with the New York Jets and you would be the lone man standing here? And you might get him for the compensation that you thought was adequate to bring in a guy with his stature? "There are so many things you can try to interpret…"
(Interrupts) Can you just tell us then? "No. The Packers know what they would have done at the end of the day. Would they have released him at the end of the day? They are the only ones who could answer that."
Bruce, right now you have a quarterback who is not happy about losing $1 million last year. Now the Brett Favre thing was hanging over his head. How do you get his mind right for the season and lead your team in a mindset that you are behind him? "Jeff is a great competitor. His number one attribute is his competitive skills. Right now, we want to get Jeff healthy and back on to the practice field. Nothing will change the competitive nature of Jeff Garcia."
Did you talk to him? "We talk to our players all the time."
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