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Yet Another Article on Favre

As a die-hard Lions guy, I have avoided much of the speculation surrounding the drama that is Brett Favre. Will he come back? Will he retire (again)? Except for the fact that I think that my scrappy Leos will have a better chance against a non-Favre-helmed Viking team, I couldn’t care less.

So when it was reported that Favre had texted some Minnesota teammates last week that he was really, truly, cross-my-heart-and-hope-to-die going to retire, I didn’t pay it much attention. We have all seen this movie before and I’m pretty sure it will once again end with Favre carving up my beloved Lions secondary for another two games this year.

What did get my attention are some pundits and fans claiming that Brett’s latest teammate texting to-do is simply a case of the future Hall of Famer angling for a bigger paycheck. Another theory is that his ego is so massive that it needs constant care and feeding in order for him to be motivated to strap on the pads for another year.

Will all due to respect to 2010 Hall of Fame inductee Russ Grimm: Hogwash.

There is no doubt that Favre has done a lot in the past few years to earn the “waffler in chief” title, but I don’t believe that any of his flip-flops were ever over money or ego.

Instead, they stemmed from a range of circumstances including his physical health, his ability to get a starting job on a quality team, and his deeply felt sense that he could still compete at the highest level in the sport.

Looking back at his waning days in Green Bay, Favre was clearly pushed out before he was ready by a management team focusing on the transition from Favre to Aaron Rodgers (a transition that has worked out extremely well so far for the Cheeseheads, curse them!).

With injuries catching up to him (he missed the Pro Bowl that year due to an injured ankle), a changing role on the team and the massive pressure to retire gracefully, Favre probably felt that he had few options. His tearful farewell belied the deep emotional bond Favre has with the game and his great hurt at being shown the door.

After recanting his decision to retire, the only way he could get out of Green Bay where his only future was as a veteran backup and mentor was to ratchet up the public drama until the Packers had no choice but to cut him loose.

Ultimately, the gambit paid off and the Packers traded him to the New York Jets where Favre was guaranteed a starting job (after the Jets dumped the oft-injured Chad Pennington to make room for him, of course).

After leading the Jets to the top of the division in the first part of the season, Favre’s performance (and the team’s fortunes) collapsed after week 12. The Jets lost four out of their last five games and ended up missing the playoffs by a nose.

Once again, though, it was Favre’s physical health that was the key. After the season ended, it was disclosed that Favre had suffered a major injury to his throwing shoulder in the latter part of the season.

After being advised that the Jets would seek to move on without him, and being unsure if his body could take another year of NFL punishment, Favre again retired.

After offseason surgery on his injured shoulder, though, Favre rumors resurfaced. Soon afterward, reports surfaced that he was talking with Brad Childress about signing with the Vikings.

As training camp began, Favre confirmed that he would stay retired. As training camp came to an end – bam! Favre was wearing purple.

Once again, Favre’s “waffling” worked out for him in the end. He got to skip out on a training camp (and the accompanying physical wear and tear) that he obviously didn’t need.

Then he got to start for a playoff contender and came darn close to winning another Superbowl ring. For an extra bonus he got to return to the hallowed tundra of Lambeau and slap around his former team that had once tossed him aside. Classic!

And that brings us back to the latest text-imony regarding his impending retirement. Is it real this time? Is his 40-year old body finally giving out on him? Color me gullible, but I think the answer is yes on both counts.

Just like in 2009, he has known since April that he needs surgery if he is to play in 2010. Just like 2009, he had a procedure in May to fix the ailing body part. Unlike 2009, though, recovery of that part (in this case his ankle) has apparently not progressed very well.

After having arguably his best season in the NFL after missing training camp last year, it isn’t like Favre needs an excuse to miss another.

The only explanation I can think of is that those recent texts to his teammates were sincere. I think Favre came to the decision that he just couldn’t cobble it together for another year.

Barry Sanders once said that every football game is like surviving a car wreck. Hopefully you walk away, but it is just a matter of time before you can’t.

At the end of each of the last three seasons, Brett Favre was barely walking away, and he knew it. Though it was obvious each time he “retired” that his heart wasn’t in it, he was obeying the dictates of his body.

As each offseason progressed and his body recovered, he decided that maybe he could get through just one more year.

Does that make him a waffler? Sure. Does it make him a money-grubbing egomaniac? Not on your life, and anyone who says so should be ashamed.

The difference this year is that if he comes back again, it won’t be because his body has recovered. Instead, it will be out of a sense of duty to his teammates and a love of the game despite the fact that he is not physically anywhere near 100%. It’s hard to root against a guy like that.

I’m prepared to, though – at least twice this year.

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One Response to “Yet Another Article on Favre”

  1. Stephen Tong says:

    I am so tired of hearing about Favre. Hopefully Sue will put him into retirement.

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