When Brett Favre announced his retirement, did you believe him or did you think he would be back for yet another year?
I believed him when he said he was mentally tired. Why wouldn’t he be? It is a long season that almost ended at the Super Bowl but instead they were sent packing because of yet another INT, this time in overtime against the New York Giants.
I believe Ted Thompson, the Packers GM and Coach Mike McCarthy after that heartbreaking finish, decided not to try too hard to convince Favre to come back for another season. They have one of the youngest, if not the youngest team in the NFL and both leaders want their stamp on this team. Thompson is almost totally committed to building the team through the draft and has done a great job to date. Favre, while he can still play, may have ended up being the odd man out. He was given a team with the best chance to win the Super Bowl, but just could not get it done in OT. No doubt, he felt a tremendous amount of pressure over the last few seasons. You have to think Thompson and McCarthy were deeply disappointed in the way the season ended as well.
One of the interesting things that apparently is a non-factor is Favre’s salary against the team salary cap. The Packers are sitting pretty good in that department. If it did, you can bet the Packers would do what it takes to get that salary against the cap freed up.
Yet, here it is, April and Favre has yet to sign and turn in his retirement papers to the league office and his agent, Bus Cook reportedly was shopping Brett to others teams. (I’m sure the Bus would miss his agency fees from his star client). Brett maintains he had nothing to do with that and insists he will remain retired.
Now, today comes word that Brett would “help the Packers, if needed”. That would have to mean if his understudy, Aaron Rogers falls injured, which isn’t so far-fetched as he hasn’t proven himself to be very durable.
So, the saga continues. The hardest thing for athletic icons to do is “hang it up” and Favre is in good company with guys like Jordan, Montana, Marino. Stars like Jim Brown, Barry Sanders, and Robert Smith make the rare exception.
Finally, when asked what his plans were post-football, he said he had none in particular. You can only golf, hunt, fish and ride your lawnmower just so long and the sound of the Lambeau crowds on game day grow fainter with each day away. He can still play, and I think there is a good chance he will and as we get past the draft and the mini-camps, the desire to “suit up” may be irresistible.
So, the saga continues. The door may still be open a crack for a Brett Favre encore with training camp right around the corner. If rock stars can walk off the stage after a great show and then come back for an encore, so can sports legends, if they still have enough in them to go out strong. I’ll hold my lighter high.