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Wednesday, December 11
Updated: December 12, 6:01 PM ET
NFL expects to fine players involved in melee

Associated Press

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Brett Favre apologized Wednesday for making an obscene gesture toward Chris Hovan after the Green Bay Packers' victory over the Minnesota Vikings.

Brett Favre

Also, the league said that the participants in the teams' postgame melee about 50 yards away from the Favre-Hovan exchange Sunday night could expect fines but not suspensions when punishment is meted out Thursday.

"I wouldn't rule anything out, but I can say in the past if a player was suspended, it happened earlier in the week,'' league spokesman Michael Signora said Wednesday.

The league usually lets teams know of suspensions right away so they can prepare replacements and aren't caught off guard after they've begun installing the game plan.

There was concern in Green Bay that defensive tackle Cletidus Hunt might face a suspension for coming off the sideline before the final play was over and racing across the field to defend his teammates.

And the Vikings were worried that tight end Jim Kleinsasser might face punishment for leaving the bench and shoving Marques Anderson during Darren Sharper's 66-yard interception return on the final play of Green Bay's 26-22 victory.

Still, several players are bracing for fines for their roles in the fracas, although few wanted to talk about it.

"It's a dead issue,'' Hunt said.

A league source said earlier this week that Favre and Hovan, who were fined $5,000 for going facemask-to-fasemask during the team's game in Minneapolis last month, wouldn't be fined for their latest spat because it occurred after the game.

Favre said he was sorry for making an obscene hand gesture toward Hovan as the two crossed paths on their way to their respective tunnels.

"I don't even remember doing that. If I did ... it may have been two kids out there acting like kids,'' Favre said. "But if I did that, I apologize to people who saw that.

"But like I said after the game, I mean it's a tough game and tempers flare and emotions fly and sometimes things happen and when you look back, you go, 'Aw, what a dumb you-know-what.'''

Hovan appeared to return the gesture to Favre and then to the crowd but he insisted Monday that wasn't the case.

"I was pointing my index finger. I was like, 'I'll see you next year,''' he said.

Favre said at first he thought Hovan might have been looking to fight.

"I heard the comments that he was coming to shake my hand,'' Favre said. "And with the fracas that was going on, I didn't know what to think, I really didn't. I said, 'Here we go again.'

"But it was just the heat of the moment type of thing. And I said this before we played Minnesota and after: Chris Hovan is a hell of a football player. He really is. I'd love to have him on my team. And I would hope that he'd say the same thing about me. He's going to have a great career.''

Hovan was unavailable for comment Wednesday. After practice, he had a maintenance worker cart him past reporters and to his car at Winter Park.

Favre said for all he knew, he and Hovan would get along famously if they played together.

"I don't know what type of guy he is. He may be a great guy. I used to hate playing against Hardy Nickerson and he's one of the greatest guys you'll ever meet,'' Favre said. "I hope there's no hard feelings. I have a lot of respect for the guy.''

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