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Tampering charges dismissed; Childress denies Favre trade talk

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has ruled that contact between the Minnesota Vikings and Brett Favre during the offseason did not violate league tampering rules.

MANKATO, Minn. -- NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has ruled that contact between the Minnesota Vikings and Brett Favre during the offseason did not violate league tampering rules.

Goodell said Monday that while there were conversations between the then-retired Favre and Vikings coaches, none of the conversations suggested Favre was soliciting a job or that anyone was soliciting his services.

"We respect the Commissioner's decision and the thoroughness of the process," the Vikings said in a statement. "We provided the League with all information requested so they could be comprehensive in their decision making. Our focus has been, and continues to be, on our football team and having a successful season."

The Packers had filed the charges against their NFC North rivals last month, based at least in part on what was believed at the time to be records of phone conversations between Favre and Darrell Bevell, Minnesota's offensive coordinator. Bevell is a former Green Bay assistant and a friend of Favre's.

Bevell and Vikings coach Brad Childress have acknowledged speaking to Favre this summer. Bevell knows the quarterback from his days as Favre's quarterback coach in Green Bay, and Childress became friendly with Favre when he occasionally sat in on Packers quarterbacks meetings as an assistant coach with the University of Wisconsin in the mid-1990s.

Both said earlier in camp that the conversations were run-of-the-mill, innocent exchanges.

Favre unretired and was scheduled to report to the Packers' training camp Monday, the same day Childress denied a report in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that the Packers have contacted Minnesota for preliminary talks on a potential trade.

Childress said he was in a meeting with vice president of player personnel Rick Spielman and director of player personnel George Paton late Sunday night when he was made aware of the report.

"I have a pretty good idea how that (article) went down, but you can shape the environment however you want one way or the other," Childress said. "We haven't had any contact with them."

The Vikings have been dogged by questions about Favre and the tampering charges throughout their training camp. Quarterback is considered to be the biggest question mark on a team that has designs on the NFC North title, with Tarvaris Jackson preparing to enter his second full season as the starter.

Landing the three-time MVP coming off one of his best seasons in recent years would solidify that position.

Throughout camp, Childress has refused to comment on the team's reported interest in Favre and the tampering allegations, only saying, "you can't believe everything you read."

Instead, the coach and teammates have thrown themselves behind Jackson, who has handled himself with a veteran's composure while being inundated with questions about the possible arrival of Favre.

"I can't control that," Jackson said Monday. "I've just got to go out and do my part. If it happens, it happens. If it don't, it don't."

Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press

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