|Written by Julian Dread.
Maybe we should hold off on writing genuflecting pieces about great players when they retire. At least hold off for a year or two until it's finally clear that they are keeping their word.
Brett Favre is the latest superstar athlete to play the bait and switch game that leaves everyone feeling "AWKWARD!"
Just months after his tearful retirement from the Green Bay Packers, Favre has indicated once again that he wants to play football. But likely not in Wisconsin. As much as Favre would like to continue his career and leave the Packers for another team that would let him start, don't bet on it.
Although for Brett Favre it's all about Bret Favre, for the Packers, it is about remaining competitive, keeping in tact the legacy of one of their greatest players, and not giving a competitive advantage to a rival. While Favre might assume nostalgia and his good guy reputation will be able to buy him out of the three years remaining on his contract, he is likely sorely mistaken. You're special Brett, but not that special.
There are only a handful of teams in the league that have an interest in Favre and in which Favre would have an interest. Meaning, only a few teams need a starter, and even fewer of them are playoff ready teams. Among them are the Baltimore Ravens, the Houston Texans, the Chicago Bears, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and the Minnesota Vikings. The last team mentioned his likely the most intriguing for Favre for several reasons.
For years now, Favre has admitted he is not always 100% committed to football each spring. He's needed to slightly scale back his practice and workout regimen, along with his general commitment to the team. In order for that act to fly somewhere outside of Green Bay and not ruffle the feathers of coaches and players alike, Favre would need someone with whom he has a relationship. That person is likely the Vikings' offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell, who was Favre's quarterback coach for three years in Green Bay.
There is no way on God's green earth that any general manager, much less the old school Ted Thompson would allow Favre to go to a division rival that seems on the cusp of doing great things. You can never put anything past the delusions of a championship athlete, but did Favre really have his agent contact the Packers for his unconditional release thinking they'd let him just skip down the road to Minnesota? I know athletes can be self-absorbed, but this is some pretty intense myopia.
Maybe Favre doesn't have his sights dead set on Minnesota, in which case the Packers may consider releasing him. It would hurt Favre's legacy and break the hearts of Packers fans everywhere, but if Favre wants to make a run in a team that won't face Green Bay, far be it from Thompson to keep Favre from doing his best Willie Mays or Johnny Unitas impersonation.
Much of this acrimony and the confusion behind Favre's unretirement seems to come from the relationship between the Packers and Favre over the last couple years. The team had gotten antsy to move on to the Aaron Rodgers' era, but two years ago Favre wouldn't retire, and then he came back last year and almost took the team to the Super Bowl.
It was a hard relationship to sever, and Favre may have felt rushed out the door even after the incredible job he did last season. If the Packers are sympathetic to that argument, they may let Favre go to chase his dream in a new town. But Favre will have to make clear to Green Bay that he doesn't intend to go to a rival. There is no greater sin than letting your franchise player leave town with a few good years left only to go to a rival city and haunt you for a few years. No team would grant that request, not even to you, Brett.
Last updated on July 13, 2008.