Favre to start Saturday against Washington

Published 10:44 pm Saturday, August 9, 2008

Brett Favre got a standing ovation from an overflow crowd that went to great lengths to get a good look at the New York Jets’ newest quarterback Saturday. He was cheered again when he completed his first pass of practice.

Those delirious fans won’t have to wait long to see him in action against another team.

Jets coach Eric Mangini said Favre will start next Saturday against the Redskins in the team’s preseason home opener. If Favre’s first practice was any indication, get ready for a frenzied atmosphere for a largely meaningless game.

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More than 7,000 fans packed the club’s practice facility in Long Island to catch a glimpse of the iconic QB in his first appearance on a field with New York. Favre was acquired from Green Bay late Wednesday night, sending a jolt through the franchise and the rest of the NFL.

Favre sounded ready to move past the hype and get back to work on the field.

“The pressure is just building,” he said Friday. “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.”

The Jets sent a conditional draft pick to the Packers for Favre, who joined his new team on the sidelines during a 24-20 preseason-opening victory at Cleveland on Thursday night.

“Time will tell, but I don’t want to say be patient,” Favre said during a City Hall news conference with the mayor. “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.”

Favre closed a summer of discontent and opened a new chapter in his storied career by joining the Jets, who outbid the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He’s also coming off one of his most productive seasons, passing for 4,155 yards, his most since 1998, with 28 TDs and 15 interceptions.

Chad Pennington and Kellen Clemens had been competing for the starting job before the Jets acquired the three-time league MVP. Pennington was released and signed by Miami on Friday, and Clemens was relegated to backup duty.

“It’s a change,” Clemens said. “One minute, you’re in a quarterback battle and the next minute, it’s completely different. There are two ways to look at this. You can get down about it or turn it into a positive. I get to pick the brain of a future Hall of Famer. That chance doesn’t come along too often.”

Favre began his first day in New York as the Jets’ quarterback with an introduction to the city by Mayor Michael Bloomberg. The mayor showered him with a number of gifts designed to ease his transition to New York, including cheesecakes, a MetroCard with $4 on it and a huge Broadway street sign.

“The legendary No. 4 has now become Jet Favre,” Bloomberg said, “and we’re delighted to welcome him to City Hall.”

Five months after a tearful retirement, Favre, who won a Super Bowl title and set all sorts of records before his acrimonious split with the Packers, is starting over. His new teammates are glad he is.

“There have been smiling faces around here all day,” said Jets tight end Bubba Franks, who played eight seasons with Favre in Green Bay. “It is good to have him here. When you play with a legend, you can’t help but feed off of it. I think he’ll fit right in with both the team and the city.”

Favre is 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,” Favre said, “as we’ve had the last two or three days.”

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.”