Tampa Bay looked to be the frontrunner for Brett Favre's services when it first became clear that the three-time MVP's time in Green Bay was over. So waking up Thursday to hear that Favre was the new quarterback of the New York Jets did catch some players for the Buffalo Bills off guard.
"It was a surprise," said Lee Evans. "You heard some rumblings that the Jets might get into the mix, but I wasn't thinking he'd end up there."
But Favre will be New York's signal caller in 2008 and the reaction to his presence in the division was mixed among the Bills players and coaches.
"It's good for the division," said defensive coordinator Perry Fewell. "He wants to play and it stretches the division. We've got a little while before we see him, but it's good for the division."
"He brings a lot of experience," said Kawika Mitchell who played against Favre twice last season with the Giants. "He's an extremely smart guy and he's still really good so it's a great move for them I think."
"I guess I can't get away from him," said defensive tackle Spencer Johnson, who faced him twice a season the past four years with Minnesota. "Brett Favre, the name speaks for itself. He's a great player. I know what to anticipate, which is a great player for the Jets. It's going to be a task."
"I couldn't care about something any less," said Bills fullback and former Jet Darian Barnes. "We play against great quarterbacks all the time. We play (Tom) Brady twice. It's just another great quarterback. I respect the man, but I just don't care."
As for the impact Favre will have on the Jets, Donte Whitner believes he'll make them a more formidable opponent.
"I think he brings another dimension to their offense where they can open it up," said Whitner. "Their offense has been all about timing routes with Chad Pennington. Brett can stretch their offense, but we're looking forward to it."
With the Bills looking to qualify for the postseason for the first time in nine seasons, and knowing that New England is already in their way, they realize Favre's addition to the Jets could complicate their efforts to reach the playoffs.
"It certainly doesn't make it easier on us," said Evans.
"It changes things obviously and makes our division just a little bit better," said Mitchell.
But the Bills collectively almost seem to relish the challenge of now playing a pair of top flight quarterbacks in their division.
"It's just like last year I played Brady and Favre twice (each), so it'll be interesting," said Mitchell. "We'll see how it works out."
"It just makes playing in the AFC East a lot better," said Whitner. "It's Brett Favre now and we already have Tom Brady and that's arguably two of the best quarterbacks in the National Football League in our division. Trent (Edwards) has an opportunity to go out there and show what he can do as a young guy so we're looking forward to it."