Last week when the Green Bay Packers traded future Hall of Fame quarterback Brett Favre to the New York Jets for a 2009 draft choice, they escaped from a precarious situation.

The front office had announced after Favre’s tearful retirement announcement in March that Aaron Rodgers was the heir apparent to Favre’s starting quarterback position, after being his understudy for the past three seasons.

Even after Favre wavered and decided to “un-retire”, the Packers’ front office stuck to their guns about Rodgers’ status even if Favre is reinstated to the Green Bay roster.

And when Favre actually did return early last week, NFL scouts were buzzing about how a team that plans on winning can do so with its best quarterback playing a back-up role.

“When it’s opening day, you want your best guys on the field,” a scout from another NFC North team told a reporter from The Sporting News last week. “You can say whatever you want until it’s time to play. But when those victories mean everything, especially opening day against a division opponent on Monday Night Football, the stakes are too high.”

Green Bay’s front office cadre actually went back on its word about Rodgers being the quarterback regardless of Favre’s status and announced there would be open competition for the starting quarterbacking job between the incumbent and Rodgers.

So to save face with the entire Packers’ team in training camp, Green Bay sent Favre to the New York Jets last Thursday. Favre is actually the first bona fide high-profile star to play the quarterback position since Joe Willie Namath back in the mid-1960’s.

Actually Favre doesn’t have to perform very well to better last year’s 4-12 season. But Favre will need a crash course on the Jets’ offensive system in less than a month’s time. And as soon as he throws his first interception, that brutal New York crowd will be chanting to bring Chad Pennington back.

So what does it mean for Brett to be a Jet? History has not been kind to Hall of Fame quarterbacks who have jumped ship from their long-time team to one with visions of grandeur about having an aging quarterback who used to be great.

It started back in the late 1950’s when Norm Van Brocklin, who played quarterback for the LA Rams from 1949-57, went to the Philadelphia Eagles for three seasons before hanging them up.

Johnny Unitas followed and played 17 seasons with the Baltimore Colts (1956-72) and moved on to the Chargers for just one season.

The same is true with Namath, who toiled for the Jets for 12 seasons (1965-76) and then brought his aching knees to the LA Rams for one gut-wrenching season.

The latest Hall of Fame quarterback to jump ship was Joe Montana, who quarterbacked the San Francisco 49ers 14 years from 1979-1992 and played two unimpressive seasons with the Kansas City Chiefs before calling it a career.

Favre comes to the Big Apple as one of seven quarterbacks to throw for 4,000 yards last season and has one Super Bowl title and three MVP awards in 16 seasons at Green Bay. He also holds NFL records in career yards (61,655), touchdowns (442), and wins (160) and hasn’t missed a start in 275 consecutive games.

He brings all that to the Jets and despite turning 39 years old in October, there are only about six quarterbacks in the NFL who can throw the football as far as Favre.

Rodgers, on the other hand, is 24 years old and was Green Bay’s first-round draft pick in 2005. But he has played in only seven regular-season games and has thrown only 59 passes. His most extensive action came in a loss to Dallas last season, after Favre left the game with an injury, when Rodgers completed 18 of 26 passes for 201 yards and a touchdown.

Don’t be surprised if neither Green Bay nor the New York Jets play .500 ball this fall with their respective new quarterbacks.

KWICKIES…Irishman Padraig Harrington rallied with a 32 on the back nine at Oakland Hills in Sunday’s final round of the PGA Championship to overtake Sergio Garcia and became only the fourth player in golf history to win both the British Open and PGA Championship in the same year. Harrington joined Walter Hagen, Nick Price and Tiger Woods as the only players to win the final two major tournaments in the same year. Tiger did it twice, in 2000 and 2006. Harrington shot 66 Sunday to win with a three-under par 277, two strokes ahead of Garcia and Ben Curtis.
Houston Astros’ slugging first baseman Lance Berkman broke his longest home run drought by blasting his 23rd round tripper of the year Sunday as the ‘Stroes overpowered Cincinnati 13-4 to sweep the four-game series. It was Berkman’s first home run in 113 at-bats dating back to June 30. It also was his 19th four-bagger at Great American Ball Park, which is more than any visitor. The Big Puma, which is Berkman’s nickname,  must pick up the slack in the middle of the Astros’ lineup caused by the injury to left fielder Carlos Lee.
The Dallas Cowboys’ No. 1 offense and defense looked good Saturday night at San Diego in their first preseason exhibition game, but the Chargers feasted on the reserves by scoring 24 unanswered points and drubbed the Pokes 31-17. Quarterback Tony Romo connected on three-of-three passes and the offense scored on their first series while the defense made San Diego go three-and-out on its first series before Head Coach Wade Phillips turned the game over to the non-starters. “Overall, I feel like we obviously didn’t play well as a team,” Phillips evaluated after the game. “I was disappointed that some of them (non-starters) didn’t do better.”
JUST BETWEEN US….As we mentioned in last week’s Korner, the Houston Astros are fun to watch and after a week that certainly hasn’t changed, especially since the team came back from a road trip in NL Central Division play with a shiny 5-2 record, including a four game sweep at Cincinnati. The last time the Astros swept a four-game series in Cincinnati was May 21-24, 2004. Houston outscored the Reds by a total of 9-0 in the first innings of the last weekend’s series. Unfortunately the major league’s hottest hitter, left fielder Carlos Lee, was hit by a Bronson Arroyo pitch Saturday night and suffered a broken pinkie finger on his left hand. Lee, who reached the 100 RBI milestone Friday night and also attained the 1,000 RBI mark for his career, will miss six-to-eight weeks, which may mean his 2008 season is over. This is the first time in Lee’s career that he has gone on the disabled list. Speedy outfielder Reggie Abercrombie, whose contract was purchased from Round Rock, will replace Lee on the 25-man roster.