Favre and McCarthy were supposed to talk about Favre's commitment to football and his role on the team Monday night. The fact that the meeting ran several hours over its allotted time was a strong hint that it went beyond simply welcoming Favre back to compete with Aaron Rodgers for the starting job.
The uncertainty of the situation made it far less likely that Favre would be on the practice field with the Packers for Tuesday's 3 p.m. EDT practice. And continued disagreement on Favre's role could accelerate trade talks, perhaps with the Minnesota Vikings -- something Packers officials have suspected Favre wanted all along.
"We're at a stalemate," Favre told ESPN Tuesday morning. "Mike and I both agreed last night that me being out there is a distraction and will continue to be a distraction. We all know the reason I'm here is because the commissioner reinstated me so we have a lot of things to figure out. It's simple and complicated, both at the same time."
Favre said he doesn't have a problem with competing with Rodgers for the starting job, and can "truly understand" why McCarthy would make Rodgers the starter. But Favre also said a competition "probably isn't going to work" and that "the problem is that there's been a lot of damage done and I can't forget it."
McCarthy had scheduled a news conference for 9:15 p.m. Monday to talk about his plans for Favre. But the news conference was postponed because McCarthy was still meeting with Favre, and hadn't been rescheduled as of noon Tuesday.
Both Favre and McCarthy finally drove out a back gate at Lambeau at 12:22 a.m. Tuesday. Favre waved to a small crowd of fans and media from his dark red SUV, and McCarthy followed immediately behind him in a black SUV.
Favre officially was reinstated and restored to the team's active roster Monday. Going into Monday night's meeting with Favre, McCarthy was focused on trying to figure out whether Favre really was 100 percent committed to playing again.
McCarthy said Favre's answers would go a long way toward formulating the team's approach to its quarterback position this season.
"There have been no promises," McCarthy said Sunday night, the most recent comment by a team official on Favre's situation. "Once again, there has been indecision throughout Brett's path back here to Green Bay. It's important for us to sit down and communicate. There are some things we need to go through."
At least one aspect of the Favre saga has been resolved: The Vikings won't be punished for alleged tampering with Favre.
Commissioner Roger Goodell ruled Monday that he found no violations of league policy in the Packers' tampering complaint against Minnesota Vikings. The Packers filed tampering charges last month, suspecting that interest from the Vikings was the main reason Favre had suddenly changed his mind about playing in 2008.
And Minnesota coach Brad Childress denied reports that the Vikings have talked to the Packers about a potential trade for Favre.
"We haven't had any contact" with the Packers, Childress said Monday.
Vikings coaches apparently did have contact with Favre in the offseason, but Goodell found that their conversations didn't violate league tampering rules. In a statement, Goodell said, "None of those conversations suggest that Favre was soliciting a job or that other teams were soliciting his services."
The Packers reluctantly embraced Favre's forced return to the football field Sunday, after failing to come to a financial agreement that would manage to make Favre happy while staying retired. And while Favre's role remains unclear, Rodgers said Sunday that he's ready for a potential competition.
"I know if they do open it up to competition, not a lot of people give me a chance, but I believe in myself and I'm going to be the best I can be," Rodgers said.