- The Washington Times - Saturday, August 2, 2008

From combined dispatches

Brett Favre’s reinstatement to the NFL was held up again Friday as the three-time MVP mulled getting paid not to play through a marketing deal with the Green Bay Packers that could resolve the standoff over his retirement.

The potential agreement, worth a reported $20 million over 10 years, might end Favre’s bid to return just months after retiring. It also would likely keep him from reporting to Packers training camp and a team that is not planning to start him at quarterback for the first time since 1992.

After talking to Packers president and CEO Mark Murphy about the marketing deal Wednesday, Favre confirmed he was considering it to ESPN on Thursday.

Packers coach Mike McCarthy made it clear that, from the team’s perspective, the agreement would be more than a buyout to make an awkward situation go away. In fact, it’s been in the works for months. He first heard about it at Favre’s retirement news conference in March.

“I know Mark Murphy talked to me about it in the past, how important it was for Brett to continue to be part of the organization after he was done playing,” McCarthy said after practice Friday morning. “And frankly, it’s good for Brett. Brett needs to stay a part of football, Obviously, he’s a part of the Green Bay Packers.”

Meanwhile, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell sat on Favre’s reinstatement letter for the fourth straight day, giving the two sides more time to resolve the situation.

PANTHERS: Receiver Steve Smith was sent home from training camp after he punched teammate Ken Lucas at practice in Spartanburg, S.C., leaving the starting cornerback holding an ice pack to his left eye before he was carted to the locker room.

Coach John Fox said Smith and Lucas returned to Charlotte, about 80 miles away, after the fight. Neither player was present for the team’s second practice Friday night.

The Panthers didn’t provide an update on the extent of Lucas’ injuries and club officials declined to say if the volatile Smith, the team’s top receiver, would be suspended.

While training camps often include shoving matches between teammates, this melee occurred on the sidelines and after both players had taken off their helmets in a break for starters during a special teams drill.

RAVENS: Cornerback Fabian Washington was suspended one game without pay for violating the NFL’s personal-conduct policy, a punishment stemming from a domestic violence arrest in February involving his girlfriend.

Washington is allowed to participate in all preseason practices and games until his suspension begins Aug. 30 and ends after the Ravens’ Sept. 7 season-opener against Cincinnati at M&T; Bank Stadium.

“I put myself in a bad situation, and I did not handle it the right way,” Washington said. “I was wrong and made a mistake. My girlfriend, my attorney and I wanted a quick resolution and knew that a suspension could happen.”

Acquired in a trade from Oakland for a fourth-round draft pick during the NFL Draft, Washington was arrested at his home in East Manatee County, Fla., following an altercation with his 21-year-old girlfriend.

Washington, 24, pleaded not guilty to the charge and was told by a judge that he would be allowed to avoid prosecution if he completed a 26-week intervention program for first-time offenders and stayed out of trouble.

BRONCOS: A precautionary MRI turned up nothing wrong with the sore left knee of center Tom Nalen.

The 14-year veteran still didn’t take part in practice.

“When he feels like he’s ready to go, he’ll go,” coach Mike Shanahan said. “When that will be, I really don’t know.”

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