I’ve been keeping quiet and watching this drama unfold from the sidelines. But I’ve been harboring some conflicting feelings since Brett Favre announced that he wants to return to the NFL. On the one hand, I enjoyed watching him lead the Packers and have nothing but the utmost respect for his accomplishments, both on and off the field. On the other hand, I would like to see the Packers move forward in the post-Favre era (I didn’t expect to see him play forever, even before he retired).
The decision to retire as a player cannot be easy. Favre came out last March and announced that he just didn’t have it in him anymore; this was two months after his season ended. I feel that once you’ve made the decision to retire, you should be absolutely certain that it is what you truly want. Favre, however, waffled and started hinting at coming back only three months after his announcement. He pulled this off after the Packers started its first training camp, after the Packers (and all the fans) started moving on and announced Aaron Rodgers as the team’s starting quarterback.
However, neither Packers General Manager Ted Thompson nor Head Coach Mike McCarthy made it clear that they wanted Favre to come back. According to Favre, he felt pressured to retire back in March. The team’s MVP, the NFL’s all-time leader in passes, one of the most favored quarterbacks of all time, the man who brought the title back to Titletown, the 2007 Sportsman of the Year, and the leader who led the Packers to its most winning season in ten years was being pushed out. In my mind, the Packers’ front office is playing games. Thompson and McCarthy should have considered Favre in their plans for 2008. Instead, they are working on alienating both the greatest quarterback of all time and the fans that support and own the organization (the Green Bay Packers is a publicly-owned football team).
According to ESPN, Favre faxed his reinstatement papers to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s office. As a result, Packers President Mark Murphy is on his way to discuss the situation face-to-face with Favre himself at his home in Mississippi and to convince him not to report to training camp. Assuming Commissioner Goodell approves, the Packers are faced with three decisions:
- Allow Favre to suit up.
- Release him.
- Trade him.
If Favre suits up, he won’t be completely ready for the beginning of the season. It’s already the end of July, and the pre-season starts in a few weeks. But he could start on day 1 of the regular season if he gets into camp very soon (say this weekend). But that will undermine everything that the coaches and the players have done to this point. Still, many of the players know Favre, know what he’s capable of, and know how to communicate with him. I don’t consider this a bad thing necessarily. Another option is coaching, but I get the sense that Favre does not want to sit on the sidelines.
If the Packers release him, Favre would be allowed to play for another team. It may look bad for the Packers, but it would be more difficult for him to get used to new personnel. Other teams have already started their training camps as well, so their personnel would also have a tough time adjusting to a different quarterback.
If the Packers trade him, they could end up with a better situation, but would still alienate the fans. However, the same issue is true with Favre playing on another team.
With President Mark Murphy now planning to tell Brett Favre not to report to training camp this week (essentially undermining Thompson’s ability to manage the situation), this saga is going to get ugly. But knowing what I’ve read and seen, I still support number 4!
For this Packers fan, it’s going to be a long and ugly year.