|Favre touches down in New York|
|Written by Admin|
|Friday, 08 August 2008 08:09|
Brett Favre, the New York Jets' newest quarterback, was introduced to the city by Mayor Michael Bloomberg at a packed City Hall news conference Friday.
``Just like home,'' a wide-eyed Favre said as he walked into the Blue Room and was greeted by dozens of flashing camera lights. He also received a number of gifts from Bloomberg designed to help him with his transition to New York.
``The legendary No. 4 has now become Jet Favre,'' Bloomberg said, ``and we're delighted to welcome him to City Hall.''
The Jets acquired Favre from the Green Bay Packers for a conditional draft pick late Wednesday night. He was with the team for its preseason-opening victory at Cleveland, flew into town early Friday morning and quickly popped in for a visit to City Hall.
``The pressure is just building,'' said Favre, wearing a blue and white polo shirt and khaki slacks and sporting his familiar 5 o'clock shadow. ``The attention I've gotten since I've been here has been overwhelming. The bottom line, as we all know, is to win games. That's what I'm here to do.''
After a huddle with staff members, Bloomberg picked out a number of gifts to help Favre ``make a quick adjustment'' to the Big Apple. As part of the city's initiative to plant a million trees by 2017, Bloomberg announced one would be planted in Favre's name.
``I cannot tell you where the tree is going to be, for obvious reasons, because it'll be stripped bare in about 30 seconds,'' said Bloomberg, wearing a green tie in honor of the Jets.
Bloomberg then presented Favre with a MetroCard - with $4 fare on it, of course.
``If you had picked a number higher, you would've gotten more money on your MetroCard,'' Bloomberg said, drawing laughs. ``Let me warn you that when you get on and off the train during rush hours, just be sure to follow your blockers.''
He also gave Favre a huge ``Broadway'' street sign, a copy of his book, ``Bloomberg by Bloomberg,'' a key ring - ``You win the Super Bowl and I promise you will get a key'' - and a few cheesecakes from Junior's Cheesecakes.
Favre, joined by Jets owner Woody Johnson and general manager Mike Tannenbaum, grabbed the bag with the boxed desserts, but Tannenbaum jokingly reminded him of his conditioning run for the team later in the day. The grinning quarterback then handed over the bag of treats to Tannenbaum.
Favre presented Bloomberg with a Favre No. 4 jersey, already a hit by fans who have snatched up over 3,000 of them since the trade. The 38-year-old Favre, who joked that his daughter asked if he was joining a college team because all the other players look much younger, won't commit to playing for the Jets beyond this season.
``Let's enjoy this year,'' he said. ``The future is now. I don't have 17 more years to play, I don't think. I want to give the New York Jets and the people of this city the best year possible. Believe me.''
Favre closed a summer of discontent and opened a new chapter in his Hall of Fame career by joining the Jets, who stunned the NFL by outbidding the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for the iconic QB.
One of the toughest to ever line up under center, Favre showed the slightest bit of anxiety about leaving the Pack after 16 seasons.
``To a certain degree, I don't know what I'm getting into,'' he said at his introductory press conference Thursday.
Favre brings instant relevance to the Jets, who went 4-12 last season and haven't had a quarterback of his stature since Joe Namath ruled Manhattan more than 30 years ago.
Favre, though, isn't trying to match Joe Willie.
``I'm here for one reason. Not to do commercials, Broadway all those things,'' Favre said before the Jets rallied to beat the Browns 24-20 on Thursday. ``I'm here to help the Jets win.''
The three-time league MVP is expected to practice with his new teammates for the first time Saturday. He was headed to the team's facility later Friday, where he would take part in team meetings and get better acquainted with his new teammates.
Five months after a tearful goodbye, Favre, who won a Super Bowl title and set all sorts of records before his acrimonious split with the Packers, is starting over. He's now part of a rebuilding Jets team which has been reduced to second-stringer status in New York behind the Super Bowl champion Giants.
``Hopefully I can bring as much excitement throughout the year as we've had the last two or three days,'' Favre said Friday.
Before the Jets received the opening kickoff Thursday, Favre and his new backup, Kellen Clemens, talked briefly on the sideline. Favre clutched a card containing New York's offensive sets and after each snap, he discussed what transpired with quarterback Brett Ratliff, who in an instant went from raw rookie to learning from one of the game's greats.
For the moment, Favre brings the Jets publicity and perhaps a better chance to compete in the AFC East. His preference was to be traded inside the NFC North to Minnesota. But the Packers didn't want to send him to a division rival, and instead began talks with Tampa Bay and the Jets, who didn't give in until they got their man.
Not long after the trade was finalized, the Jets released former starter Chad Pennington, who could wind up with Miami.
New York gave up a conditional pick for Favre. According to NFL.com, the selection would turn into a third-rounder if Favre plays in 50 percent of the plays this season, a second-rounder if he plays in 70 percent and the Jets make the playoffs, or a first-round pick if he plays in 80 percent and the Jets make it to the Super Bowl.
Favre is coming off one of his most productive seasons, one during which he answered any doubts about whether he still had game. He passed for 4,155 yards, his most since 1998, and had 28 TDs with 15 interceptions. The arm strength was still there, and so was his ability to improvise and make something of nothing.
``Time will tell, but I don't want to say be patient,'' Favre said Friday. ``I have to get a lot done in a short amount of time. They wouldn't have signed me if they didn't think I could do that.''
AP Sports Writer Tom Withers in Cleveland contributed to this report.