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Before you run screaming into the streets, we should make clear that this headline is not meant to infer that Brett Favre is trying to un-retire again. No, it’s simply that after years of bad feelings and unnecessary drama, the Green Bay Packers are ready to make nice with Brett Favre in an official way.
During the team’s recent Tailgate Tour, an opportunity for fans to interact with players in an informal setting, Packers president Mark Murphy said that it’s time to welcome Favre back into the fold as one of the team’s all-time great players.
“I think each year it’s lessened a little bit,” Murphy said on Tuesday about the questions regarding Favre. “My first year was 2008, so we actually thought we might see Brett along the tour.”
Of course (and we’ll keep this summary mercifully short), 2008 was Favre’s first year away from Green Bay since 1992, when then-general manager Ron Wolf traded a first-round pick to the Atlanta Falcons that February for his future quarterback. Safe to say, that was a fairly one-sided deal. Favre threw for 61,655 yards and 442 touchdowns in 16 seasons for the Pack, but he was traded to the New York Jets in August, 2008 — a few months after he retired, unretired, asked current general manager Ted Thompson to return to the team, and was rebuffed. After one iffy year with the Jets, Favre played two more seasons with the Minnesota Vikings — a brilliant one in 2009, and an injury-plagued finale in 2010, before he finally hung ‘em up for good in 2011.
There were bad feelings on both sides, and between Favre and successor Aaron Rodgers for a time, but the appearance by Favre and Rodgers on stage together at the 2013 NFL Honors show during Super Bowl week seemed to indicate that there had been some patching up along the way. Their dialogue in the show was pretty funny:
Rodgers: We’re here to present the award for best comeback player.
Favre: You know Aaron, everyone loves it when a great player makes a comeback.
Rodgers: (smirking) Yeah, well, not always. Some people wish great players would just retire and stay retired.
Favre: Good to see you, too, Aaron.
Rodgers: You too, man.
(Handshake, followed by awkward, possibly scripted quasi-hug)
Rodgers: That was awkward.
Peyton Manning, who won that award, riffed right off the Favre-Rodgers meeting. “What a tremendous honor to receive this award from two of the best quarterbacks of all-time, Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers,” Manning said. “It sure is great to see the two of them up here together. It’s great for football. I feel pretty confident me and Andrew Luck will be up here one day presenting this award together.”
“I thought it was good timing to just let the fans know, to let Brett know, let’s move forward,” Rodgers said of that appearance. “Let’s heal things up and move forward.”
Favre had caught some flak for wondering why it took so long for Rodgers to grab a Lombardi Trophy, which he did at the end of the 2010 season when the Packers won Super Bowl XLV.
“I’m going to be honest, I was not surprised,” Favre told a Atlanta radio station in October, 2011. “The biggest surprise to me would be that he didn’t do it sooner … And I’d like to think that he watched, he learned, and then when he got a chance to play, he brought in his ability which is obviously very good or they wouldn’t have drafted him in the first round. He’s got tremendous talent, he’s very bright and he got a chance to watch and see successful teams do it right. And so he just kind of fell into a good situation. On top of that, he’s a good player. I don’t think anyone would question now the talent around him is even better.”
Rodgers, who was selected by Green Bay in the first round of the 2005 NFL Draft and had to sit behind Favre for three years before he could establish himself as perhaps the league’s best quarterback, reflected in 2011 about his relationship with Favre.
“I thought we were [close], I really did,” Rodgers told ESPN in 2011. “You know, the first year was a tough year. I’m sure there were some feelings of frustration that they picked his potential successor in the first found. But then in ’06 and ’07 I thought our relationship really got strong, and he realized that I was in his corner … I was the guy caught in the middle of the struggle, and it was out of my control.”
Murphy first became specific about a Favre jersey retirement ceremony and other celebrations at the owner’s meetings in March, saying that “I don’t know the timing of it … certainly I don’t want to put a deadline on it, but it’s going to happen. It’s got to be sitting down – the organization, whether it’s myself or others, sitting down with him and working on the timing on it.”
Murphy said during the 2012 Tailgate tour that the time to retire Favre’s number would be when it was “meaningful to Brett.” Now, he’d like to see Favre on next year’s Tailgate Tour.
“I envision someday he’ll be on this with us.”
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In Insert Coin, we look at an exciting new tech project that requires funding before it can hit production. If you’d like to pitch a project, please send us a tip with “Insert Coin” as the subject line.
When we last saw Connectify, it brought its Dispatch internet connection combining software to Kickstarter, doubled its funding goal and launched the product into market. However, customers using it said they wanted more the the web browsing and BitTorrent streaming speed-ups the load-balancing app provided, and were looking for so-called connection aggregation tech that’d allow quicker video streaming, VPN access and Skype calls, too. As a result, the company has just launched Switchboard, a cloud based app that combines all your internet connections but appears as only one IP address.
To make it work, the company built new software from scratch and put together a network of cloud servers across the world. The result is a “channel bonding” system that Connectify claims will speed up all your online activities: Dropbox or SkyDrive uploads and downloads, Google Hangout video conferencing and video streaming from the likes of Netflix, to name a few. A quick test of the beta software on our end showed that it worked fairly seamlessly despite the apparent complexity of the system as a whole, requiring just a simple software installation and two or more internet connections. We also noticed that our IP address appeared as that of the server we were connected to instead of our local address, which could be a bonus for those trying to access their US internet from abroad. This time around, it’s looking to grab $ 100,000 in Kickstarter funding, with early adopters able to opt in starting at $ 50 per year.
Source: Connectify (Kickstarter)
1. Jimmy Graham, Saints – He’s 26 years old, and in three seasons has 215 catches and 25 touchdowns. He’s so athletic, and can do things no other tight end can. Combine that with Drew Brees and a pass-happy offense (we don’t believe what Sean Payton says about running more), and look for Graham to have another monster 2013, which will include near 100 catches, about 1000 yards plus yards and double digit scores.
2. Vernon Davis, 49′ers - Look for a career-year from the 29-year-old Davis in 2013, and it wouldn’t be a shock to see him double his number from 2012, which included 61 catches for 548 yards and five scores. Davis is an impact player on maybe the best team in the game, and he will have his number called early and often for the Niners.
3. Rob Gronkowski, Patriots – No doubt he’s probably the best TE in the game, but facing a fourth surgery and his off the field antics, it could mean ‘Gronk’ comes crashing down a bit in 2013. Tom Brady loves him, as shown by his 11 TD grabs, but he simply has had major issues staying healthy, and with Aaron Hernandez making plays as well, Gronk isn’t the tops on our list, but no doubt he’s still one of the best TE’s in the game.
4. Tony Gonzalez, Falcons – Did anyone actually think Gonzalez would walk away after the huge year he had in 2012? 930 yards and eight TD’s to go along with 93 catches in 2012, there’s simply too much gas in the tank for him to walk away just yet. Look for a big season again from Gonzo in 2013 with Matt Ryan and he making big plays quite a bit for the Falcons.
5. Dennis Pitta, Ravens – The playoff hero for the Ravens signed his second-round tender Monday, and will be back with an even bigger season than his 61 catch, 669 yard and seven TD season in 2012. Pitta became Joe Flacco’s biggest target late, and with Anquan Boldin off to the Niners, Pitta is going to be a big target in 2013.
6. Owen Daniels, Texans – 62 grabs for 716 yards and six TD’s in 2012, and you can’t deny how well he can get downfield, giving Matt Schaub another target other than super WR Andre Johnson. He’s 31 years old and Texans fans are thinking this could be his career year in 2013. Here’s a bet they are right.
7. Jason Witten, Cowboys – It’s good when your the best friend of the franchise QB, and for Witten, it paid off with his best year in 2012, with 110 catches for 1039 yards and three TD’s. With Jerry Jones wanting a bigger year for Romo, it could actually mean a bigger year for Witten, which is hard to imagine based on his 2012.
8. Aaron Hernandez, Patriots – While Gronk gets all the pub, Hernandez can hold his own. Had 51 grabs for 483 yards and five TD’s last season, and with Gronk’s injury issues, his numbers could go much higher this season. He also can carry the ball, which is just about unheard of for a tight end.
9. Dustin Keller, Dolphins – Keller gets out of that media frenzy in New York, and should benefit with a fresh start in Miami. He had injuries last season, but will be a solid fit in an offense with a pass game with speedy wide receivers Mike Wallace and Brian Hartline. Look for a season more like 2011 when he had 815 yards and five scores.
10. Greg Olsen, Panthers – Cam Newton’s go-to TE, Olsen last season put career highs for catches with 69 and yards with 843. Olsen can bring it in the run blocking game as well, which is why Ron Rivera loves him on his team.
(Credit: Paramount Pictures)
Beam — er, stream — me up, Scotty. And do it via Facebook.
The social network is powering up its Facebook Live site Friday evening to give Trekkies, Trekkers, and Trekyamacallits of all stripes the chance to transport the original Mr. Sulu into their living room — along with J.J. Abrams, director of the soon-to-be-released Trek flick, “Star Trek: Into Darkness.”
(Credit: georgetakai.com; Paramount Pictures)
Abrams and George Takei will be interviewed live on the Net at 5:30 PT tonight by “Saturday Night Live’s” Andy Samberg, with viewers invited to submit questions in real time.
Facebook Live debuted in the summer of 2010 as a way for the social network to tout its new products and publicize the activity happening at the company, such as airing interviews with people who stop by its headquarters.
The site features a handful of archived streams, including events with celebs of one sort or another, from Barack Obama to Shimon Peres to Oprah Winfrey to Rihanna.
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RENTON, Wash. — If there was any question as to the Seattle Seahawks’ status as one of the buzzier teams in the NFL these days, that question was answered when the team took the field at the Virginia Mason Athletic Center for the first day of rookie minicamp on Friday. Not only was there a larger group of local media in attendance (including most of the local television stations), but All-Pro cornerback Richard Sherman cruised up on a Jet Ski, rolling up a few feet from the grounds on nearby Lake Washington.
“Was that Sherm? Cool,” head coach Pete Carroll said after practice. “I was surprised there weren’t more guys. You might not have noticed, but I think Russell [Wilson] was up in the hills over there, peeking over the top, wanting to see what was going on.”
Well, maybe. That’s expected interest for a team seen to be among the top few in the league according to most pre-season polls, but the players looking to make an impact in this three-day camp came with more questions than answers.
Seattle traded its first-round pick to the Minnesota Vikings in the Percy Harvin trade, which left lower-round guys trying to stand out. There was second-round running back Christine Michael, once thought to be a first-round talent before he landed in Kevin Sumlin’s doghouse at Texas A&M. There was third-rounder Jordan Hill from Penn State, a defensive tackle saddled with the “too small to start” label by some teams, but someone Carroll could use as he used Mike Patterson at USC. There was Alabama defensive tackle Jesse Williams, who dropped to the fifth round as a result of a knee injury suffered in last year’s SEC Championship. Williams showed enough in two seasons to land the 35th position in this year’s Shutdown 50, but the NFL saw him differently. And there was offensive tackle Michael Bowie, once a potential starting left tackle for Oklahoma State, who finished his collegiate career at Northeastern State after Cowboys head coach Mike Gundy dismissed him for violating team rules.
At last year’s rookie minicamp, the Seahawks benefitted in ways they could have never imagined from the immediate ascent of Wilson, a third-round, too-short quarterback, who took rep after rep and forced himself into the discussion as a potential regular-season starter. This year, there were no off-the-charts stories like that at the position, but there was former Texas A&M starter Jerrod Johnson, the 6-foot-5, 251-pound former star for the Aggies who looked like a prospect on the rise before he was lapped by former receiver Ryan Tannehill.
For Carroll, who’s got enviable depth at almost every position (at least on paper), this year’s camp was less about picking off potential starters and more about finding diamonds in the rough.
“The goal for us is to try and find out what our guys look like on the practice field and how they learn and see if we can see some sparks of hope from the guys that are just trying out,” Carroll said. “Of course we’ll look real seriously at the draft picks, but we’ll look at everybody and when they’re out here, we’re treating them all the same and letting them compete.”
Johnson, who may have a legitimate shot at a backup slot for the Seahawks — there’s only Brady Quinn and Josh Portis behind Wilson on the depth chart right now — seemed to impress his new coach.
“Well he’s handling himself well,” Carroll said of the big quarterback. “Right now, he’s ahead of the other guys because he’s been around. So he’s handling the huddle and he gives us a sense that the guy’s got some experience. He’s like a vet out here. So that’s a good start. He’s had a good start joining up with us. We’re very pleased with how he’s doing so far and we’ll see how far he takes it.”
Michael impressed right away with the same kind of speed and agility you’d see on A&M tape — he blasted through the unpadded drills and showed some real downfield explosiveness. But athletic ability has never been the question with Michael — it’s about finding the right environment, which he seems to have done.
“Just that I’m a good player, I’m a great teammate, I’m here to compete, I’m here to learn and just put it all out there,” he said, when asked what he wanted to prove. “Help contribute to my team as much as possible … I had to refocus in every now and then because this is what I dreamed about. This is what I prayed so hard on and I couldn’t ask for anything better than to be in Seattle.”
While Hill and Williams looked very solid when lined up side by side in defensive line drills (as expected), the real surprise was Bowie. If you didn’t know any better, you’d watch the big kid with jersey number 73 and wonder how someone from Northeastern State could look so polished and strong. Bowie repeatedly fired off the snap with authority, blowing his linemates back in pad drills — he clearly came into this camp with something to prove. I asked Carroll what coaches look for when a player estimable talent is demoted to a situation in which he should clearly dominate.
“Well, you would think that the guys would dominate a little more. He was a legitimate player at a Division I school and then [he went] down. But that’s not always the case, and isn’t. We watched that in a couple other guys this year that moved down a couple notches. So we’re still just looking for the basic stuff. We’re looking for feet, we’re looking for movement, he’s got enough movement to play with us and then does he have the size and the profile? We know he had some issues, so now we’re going to learn about him. We’re going to learn what he’s like and how serious he is to put that stuff behind him. He’s off to a good start today.”
Carroll had the example of Russell Wilson to use for those rookies who believe they won’t have a shot to make the active roster no matter what, but the buzz around the team — including his star cornerback’s aquatic party crash — said just as much to the new players. You work hard, like Wilson did, and like the former fifth-round pick Sherman did, and there’s something for you here.
“To start our staff meeting this morning, I showed clips of Russell’s first day in this camp, walking out, we had him miked up and all. He was fumbling snaps and cursed himself out a couple times. It was funny to see it, to know how far he’s come in such a short time. It was kind of for the staff to remember that we might not see everything on the first day and to keep hopes that we can bring some stuff out of these guys.
“It’s a great story for everyone.”
Carroll can but wait and see if any of the new kids make their own stories.
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Lovers of classic synth, celebrate: pioneer Bob Moog will join the Inventors Hall of Fame today. The USPTO is bestowing that honor for patent number 3,475,623 granted in 1966 for the so-called Moog ladder filter that gave rise to its original synth and Minimoog Synthesizers, and is still used in synths like the Voyager and Sub Phatty today. To fete the occasion, the company is reissuing its classic ladder filter t-shirt that’ll come with a free hall of fame induction poster, and will also hold an ice cream social at the factory store in Asheville, NC. That’ll culminate in a rare Moog synth-heavy performance by aptly-named local group Ice Cream, so if you’re lucky enough to be in the area, the festivities kick off at 6 p.m.