Last week, the Green Bay Packers filed a tampering suit against the Minnesota Vikings alleging that the Vikings had improper conduct with current Packer quarterback Brett Favre. At the time of the filing, evidence suggested that Favre had had phone conversations with Minnesota offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell.
Today, in a column in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, there are purportedly substantiated reports that Favre not only had phone contact with Bevell, but also with Minnesota's head coach Brad Childress. The evidence of the calls, according to the Sentinel report, is contained in the records of Favre's team-issued cell phone.
If the reports are accurate, and if it comes to light that Childress had phone conversations with Favre regarding Favre's possible return to the NFL as a Viking, several questions immediately rise to the fore.
Among the most obvious questions is why Favre would use a team-issued cell phone to make calls the content of which he most certainly had to know violated the league's anti-tampering rules? Calls to Bevell can be explained away as calls from one long-time friend to another, even though, as was suggested earlier on this site, the league likely would frown on such conversations having taking place at or around the time that Favre began reconsidering his decision to retire. Calls to Childress could present a more dire predicament for the Vikings.
From the Sentinel article, it is not clear how long the purported calls between Childress and Favre lasted or whether the calls were one-way calls. If the records show short, one-way calls from Favre to Childress, Childress could argue that he either did not answer or return the calls or that the conversations were abrupt with Childress making clear his obligation not to discuss with Favre Favre's job status. Any signs of incoming calls from Childress to Favre of any reasonable duration likely will spell greater trouble for the Vikings and could result in even greater difficulties for Childress.
While, outside the two reports on the records from purported insiders, Favre's cell-phone records remain private, the Vikings have already lent some credence to the Packers' general charge of tampering and have, thereby, provided some weight to the current claim regarding the expanded scope from what initially was reported on this issue.
What remains unexplained is why Favre would contact the Vikings on his team-issued cell phone, understanding the implications if and, as was likely to be the result, when his correspondence was uncovered by Packers' officials? Short of a well-orchestrated conspiracy by the Packers to put the Vikings in hock with the league, only stupidity seems a plausible answer.
If the present reports are accurate, what last week looked like a league sanction of a late-round draft pick could now escalate to a first-day draft pick, a fine, and a preclusion of Favre signing with the Vikings in 2008.
Up Next: Salary cap and fallout.