Still no assurances Favre will play in 2008

Training camp beckons. But first, so does a Brett Favre update.

In talking with numerous NFL teams, the Packers contacted more than 20, testing to see whether they would have any interest in trading for Favre. Most said they do not; they -- like the Packers were trying to do -- moved on.

Now Green Bay needs to find a trading partner in the event that a) Favre decides he wants to play, and b) the Packers decide they do not want it to be for them, as most expect.

As much as Favre wants to play -– and he does -- there are no assurances he will. He still could decide to remain retired. Some around the league still believe this is a likely option.

Favre is expected to make his decision before the week is over, and it could come as early as Thursday. Fortunately for the Packers, they along with the Bengals and Steelers are the last teams to open training camp Sunday. They have time to sort through the issue.

But should Favre send the NFL and the Packers a letter asking to be reinstated, Green Bay is going to have to get busy on the phone, making more of the calls they have been this week.

Multiple NFL executives believe that, outside the NFC North, there is an extremely limited market for Favre. For starters, any team that trades for Favre is going to have to satisfy Green Bay's asking price and Favre's desires –- not an easy double duo.

Favre wants to play for a Super Bowl winner. Green Bay gives him the best chance to do it, but it seems as disinterested in Favre as teams such as Carolina and Baltimore that once were thought to be eyeing the veteran quarterback.

As the days have passed, the logical landing spots have dwindled. At this point, Tampa Bay would be the most logical choice.

The Buccaneers privately have explored the hypothetical scenario of dealing for Favre; what team wouldn't? But head coach Jon Gruden would trade years off his life for the opportunity to work with an icon such as Favre.

Plus, even though the Buccaneers play the Packers the fourth week of this season, the game is in Tampa. Were a trade between these two teams completed, Favre would meet the Packers, but it would not be in Green Bay.

Should Green Bay decide it does not want to deal Favre to Tampa Bay, the only AFC team that would make sense is the New York Jets. The Jets have fortified their offensive line, bolstered their defense and boast creative offensive coordinator Brian Schotteneheimer, who is a head coach in waiting.

Plus, Favre would not be subjected to the big city to which he is unaccustomed. The Jets are moving their training complex to New Jersey in September, and Favre could find a rural lifestyle somewhere nearby.

But again, the next move belongs to Favre. Nothing happens without him. He must decide whether to apply for reinstatement.

If he does, then Green Bay faces its biggest problem of training camp -– before training camp even opens Sunday.

The Gold standard

For eight seasons, linebacker Ian Gold was one of the league's more underrated players.

He spent seven seasons in Denver, one in Tampa, and even was voted to the Pro Bowl in 2001. But Wednesday, Gold said he is retiring.

"When people hear I'm retiring, they're going to be like, 'Ian who?'" said Gold, who turns 30 next month. "But I'm all right with that."

As Gold's family and friends found out he planned to retire, some expressed surprise that he was willing to walk away from millions of dollars he could have earned this season. At one point, Gold considered signing with the Houston Texans.

But getting away from football was more alluring to Gold, who already has lined up business opportunities.

"I've had some people say to me, 'You're retiring?' and they think it's crazy," Gold said. "But it's not. It's time to move on. I'm not pulling a Brett Favre. I'm getting out of the game with my health and my youth."

Season premiers on NFL Network ...

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Extra points

» Raiders cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha reported to training camp Wednesday and signed his $9.8 million franchise tag. Asomugha will be a full participant during the team's first day of training camp on Thursday.

» The New Orleans Saints have signed wide receiver Marques Colston to a three-year contract extension. Colston is now tied to New Orleans through the 2011 season.

» Strange but true. When the Raiders report to training camp Thursday, it will mark a first for Oakland quarterback JaMarcus Russell. Last summer he never appeared there. Due to a contract holdout, Russell never even went through a training camp practice. He will do that Friday for the first time.

» No surprise, but Oakland has essentially dis-invited running back LaMont Jordan to training camp. The Raiders were hoping to trade him, but are likely to be forced to release him. Once he is let go, Jordan is not going to be looking for a new team for long.

» Thursday's headline in Chicago's newspapers: Orton loses quarterback competition. Which he did. In a different way. On the first day of camp, Bears coach Lovie Smith flipped a coin to see which quarterback would take reps with the first-team offense. Orton lost the toss on the first day, giving Grossman the chance to go first. Thursday, Orton will get his turn working with the Bears' first team.

» Whoever is the Bears' quarterback got some protection Wednesday. The Bears signed first-round pick Chris Williams to a five-year, $16 million contract that included $10 million in guaranteed money.

» Bears return specialist/wide receiver Devin Hester wishes he had some of that money. He failed to show up for the start of training camp. The Bears placed him on the Reserve/Did Not Report list.

» San Diego released veteran wide receiver Eric Parker, who missed all of last season with a toe injury. Parker thinks he is ready to play and should have a new home soon. One logical possibility: Oakland, which employs one of Parker's former Chargers coaches, James Lofton.

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