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Packers will retire No. 4, but probably not in 2009

The Green Bay Packers will retire Brett Favre's No. 4 jersey at some point, and team president and CEO Mark Murphy envisions a day when Favre is once again part of the family.

But given the messy divorce between Favre and the Packers last year, the reconciliation -- and the ceremony -- probably won't happen this year.

"I don't anticipate it this season," Murphy said Saturday, speaking to reporters at the team's annual "fan fest" at Lambeau Field. "Obviously we will do it. We've made that commitment. He deserves to have his number retired. I just think both sides need some time."

Besides, Murphy joked, who's to say Favre won't change his mind yet again?

"Quite honestly, from a practical standpoint, we had to cancel one retirement ceremony already," Murphy said, laughing. "I think it's smart to make sure that he is retired, rather than going through a situation like that again."

All kidding and past acrimony aside, Murphy said Favre will be welcomed back when both sides decide that the time is right.

"He'll be a member of our family long-term," Murphy said. "Most players go through a period of time and I think when you're away from it for a while, I think it'll be meaningful for him and for us when he does come back."

Favre announced his retirement from the Packers last March, but continued to deliberate on his football future in private. He told team officials he wanted to come back a few weeks after announcing his retirement, and they were prepared to take him back -- only to have him change his mind again and stay retired.

By the time Favre had his mind firmly set on a comeback in July, Packers management had decided to move forward without him. Tensions mounted and turned the Packers' training camp into a circus, and Favre was traded to the New York Jets.

Favre got off to a rousing start with his new team but faltered down the stretch and the Jets missed the playoffs. He retired again in February.

Assuming Favre really stays retired this time, there's a possibility that a future reconciliation with the Packers could include a financial arrangement.

In the middle of Favre's unretirement saga, the Packers offered him a multimillion-dollar marketing deal -- a move interpreted by some as a bribe for Favre to stay retired, a charge the team rebuked.

Favre turned it down at the time, but it was widely assumed that the two sides would reach a similar agreement once Favre retired for good.

"I think we'll determine that with time," Murphy said. "And obviously it can't just be us, it's got to be him. Both sides will look at it. But I think now is not the right time to have those discussions."

Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press

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