Tuesday, July 08, 2008


Yes, that headline reads as crass, unemotional, and perhaps vindictive.

Sorry. Deal with it.

Let me start with a disclaimer. The jersey being modeled to the right is still in my closet. I still look at it with pride and nothing but positive memories. The career Brett Favre enjoyed in Green Bay is one to be admired and pursued for years to come. No one does what he did anymore.

Word that Favre is considering a comeback leaked last week. As expected, it's set the internet on fire.

It seems that the Packers are in no hurry to deal with this, as general manager Ted Thompson reportedly blew off a Favre text message during his vacation over the weekend. Naturally, this is a sin punishable by death in some circles. You don't blow off Brett Favre, sir. Not under any circumstances. Even if you are enjoying basically the only time off an NFL executive gets in a calendar year.


This charade has gone on long enough, and it hasn't even been a week. It's time for Brett to go away.

Favre had approximately 45 days to make up his mind about the 2008 season. He deliberated, discussed the decision with his family and head coach Mike McCarthy. On March 6, he tearfully announced his retirement. He cited fatigue, saying he'd given all he could give. He said he didn't think he wanted to play anymore. It sounded sincere, and it sounded like it was happening for the right reasons. After watching much of the question/answer session that followed his announcement, you had to come away thinking Favre was at a degree of peace over his decision.

The Packers sensed this, and they moved on. Aaron Rodgers was groomed through off-season workouts as the starting quarterback, and he appeared to get off to a good start with his coaches and teammates. McCarthy tweaked the offense to benefit Rodgers and his strengths, which are different than Favre's.

We find out now that Favre isn't at peace. Four months later, there are rumblings Favre wants the starting job back in Green Bay, or he wants to go play somewhere else.

Let's be realistic. The Packers aren't going to cut Brett Favre. He will not become a free agent. Ted Thompson isn't a dummy, and he'd be run out of town if Favre showed up as a member of the Vikings September 8, or for the Lions or Bears later in the season. No chance in hell.

However, can the Packers just welcome Favre back?

As much as it kills me, my answer is a quick and emphatic "No". Favre retired, then waited almost four months before indicating that he may have acted rashly. This isn't Dana Altman taking the coaching job at Arkansas before reconsidering and quickly returning to Creighton, or Billy Donovan going to the NBA before backing out and returning to Florida. Altman didn't change his mind months after making the move, and neither did Donovan. Those things happen.

Favre made a deliberate decision, gave the team no indication that he wasn't happy with his decision. His inaction and silence could be taken as nothing but an indication that the Packers needed to move on. They did. They trained his replacement.

For Favre to be handed his old job back now would be simply wrong. Life isn't fair, but it's about time the Packers did something fair for Aaron Rodgers. He's done nothing but be a professional about his awkward and difficult situation since the day he showed up. He's waited three years for his turn, and he's spent four months preparing diligently for his turn.

If the Packers intend to bring Favre back as their starting quarterback, without competition, then they need to trade Rodgers to a team that will give him a chance to start.

I don't think this will happen. I think the Packers will try their best to convince Favre to stay retired. If that fails, I see them either trading Favre or making him compete for the job with Rodgers. If the offense has truly been changed to favor Rodgers' game, it's not a lock Favre would win the job.

If they trade Favre, they control where he goes. They can tell agent James "Bus" Cook to seek a deal with a team that doesn't appear on the Packers' 2008 or 2009 schedules. They can make it clear to Cook and Favre that there won't be a deal done within the division.

While Favre has a ton of power here (simply sending a letter that requests his reinstatement would set wheels in motion for a lot of newsworthy events), but it shouldn't be forgotten that Thompson isn't a weakling, either. The Packers have the cap space to force Favre to ride the pine should they choose, and they have the power to trade him wherever they want (remembe,r there are no "no-trade" clauses in NFL contracts).

Packer fans will always appreciate Favre, but he's not handling this well. If he doesn't figure that out, it's inevitable that Favre's pristine legacy will face the risk of serious damage.

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