MILWAUKEE -- NFL commissioner Roger Goodell is monitoring the ongoing rift between the Green Bay Packers and Brett Favre.
A person with direct knowledge of Goodell's interest said the commissioner has spoken with Packers management several times recently as tensions mounted between the three-time MVP and his team.
The person spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the talks.
With the Packers committed to moving forward with Aaron Rodgers as their starter and Favre apparently still intent on reversing his decision to retire in March -- although there have been no reports that Favre has formally petitioned Goodell for reinstatement -- the best outcome for both parties could be a trade.
And Tampa Bay is emerging as perhaps the most likely destination for Favre, although it is unclear whether Favre would be willing to play for the Buccaneers. Tampa Bay head coach Jon Gruden was a Packers assistant coach from 1992-94 and runs a version of the West Coast offense Favre would be familiar with.
Chicago Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher said he "can't imagine" seeing Favre anywhere other than Green Bay, but isn't surprised that he wants to play again.
"He loves football, and I think he kind of made the decision when the season was over," Urlacher said. "He was tired, he probably was worn down, like he said and he made a decision that he didn't want to stick with. But he's Brett Favre, he can do whatever he wants. I don't know what's going to happen, but I would like to see him playing somewhere next year."
But Urlacher said Chicago wasn't a likely destination for Favre.
"For us? I don't think that's a possibility," Urlacher said. "If they do trade him, I don't think it's going to be in our division, No. 1. Maybe not even in our conference."
Favre made an appearance at Lambeau Field on Saturday to present former teammate Frank Winters for induction to the Packers' Hall of Fame, but declined to discuss his rift with the team. Favre accepted a team MVP award that night, calling himself "an old, gray-haired quarterback showing I can still do it."
Favre retired in early March, but recently has been having second thoughts about playing in 2008. But the latest, and most intense, episode in several offseasons' worth of Favre's flip-flopping on his future in football was met with lukewarm enthusiasm by the Packers, who spent the offseason planning to move forward with Rodgers.
In an interview with Fox News last week, Favre criticized Thompson for being untruthful with him. Packers officials have gone out of their way not to criticize Favre, instead laying out a specific timeline of their dealings with him in the offseason in hopes that fans will understand why the team decided to move forward without No. 4.
The most significant episode in their timeline came in late March, when Favre led the Packers to believe he was going to unretire and they were prepared to welcome him back -- only to change his mind once again and stay retired.
Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press