- The Washington Times - Friday, August 8, 2008

CLEVELAND (AP) | Brett Favre held up his new green jersey Thursday evening, hoping he made the right decision.

“To a certain degree, I don’t know what I’m getting into,” he said.

Favre’s summertime soap opera ended Wednesday night when the Green Bay Packers traded their iconic quarterback to the New York Jets, who haven’t had a star of No. 4’s stature since the days Joe Namath was slinging passes.

“I’m here for one reason. Not to do commercials, Broadway all those things,” Favre said after joining New York for its preseason game in Cleveland. “I’m here to help the Jets win.”

It’s not certain when the three-time MVP will be ready to play. But he assured it will be soon.

“I’m a little out of shape, compared to the other guys,” he said.

Five months after a tearful goodbye to a Hall of Fame career, Favre, who won a Super Bowl and set all sorts of records in 16 seasons before his acrimonious split with the Packers, is now part of a Jets team which went 4-12 last season.

“It’s like a marriage that ends,” Packers president Mark Murphy said. “It happens. Neither party is at fault.”

Favre spent the night at his home near Hattiesburg, Miss., before flying to New Jersey to meet with Jets officials. They then boarded a charter for Cleveland.

“The last 24 hours have been crazy,” Favre said.

For the moment, Favre brings the Jets publicity - second stringers in the New York area, they’re far overshadowed by the champion Giants.

Already, his jersey is being scooped up by fans who awakened Thursday to the news that the Mississippi country boy with the cannon right arm is on his way to the big city.

Told that 3,000 new jerseys had been sold online, he joked, “That’s all?”

Until the deal was announced, it appeared the 38-year-old might be on his way to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. But the Jets, who went to camp with Chad Pennington and Kellen Clemens battling to be the starter, persisted and landed Favre for a fourth-round draft pick in 2009.

Pennington, benched midway through last season, was released Thursday afternoon.

A draft pick is hardly a steep price for a player who holds league records in career yards (61,655), touchdowns (442), wins (160) and hasn’t missed a start in 275 consecutive games.

“We wish him the best,” Packers coach Mike McCarthy said. “There’s no ill feelings. He has a positive reputation within this organization.”

New York gave up a conditional pick for Favre. According to NFL.com, the selection would turn into a third-rounder if Favre plays in 50 percent of the plays this season, a second-rounder if he plays in 70 percent and the Jets make the playoffs, or a first-round pick if he plays in 80 percent and the Jets make the Super Bowl.

The Jets are hoping Favre can bring them some of the magic he created at Lambeau Field, a place where the sight of him dropping back into the pocket on a frozen Sunday and rocketing a ball downfield is as etched in Packers lore as legendary coach Vince Lombardi walking the sidelines.

Favre is coming off one of his most productive seasons, one during which he answered any doubts about whether he still had game. He passed for 4,155 yards, his most since 1998, and had 28 touchdowns with 15 interceptions. The arm strength was still there, and so was his ability to improvise and make something of nothing.

He led the Packers to the NFC Championship game, where they lost to the Giants in overtime. Favre’s final pass was intercepted, setting up New York’s winning field goal. That pick, a blemish on an otherwise brilliant season, may have haunted him and driven Favre back onto the field.

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