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Brett Favre & The Green Bay Packers: A Pending Divorce?
By Clayton Ruley
 

Brett Favre does what he does best! Sling that football!

Most people no matter what they do want to be respected by those they work with and work for.

Brett Favre is no different and the latest sentiments from the Green Bay Packers administration makes me that they are lacking that respect for one of the all-time greats. Brett Favre came to Green Bay when they only had one playoff appearance in 15 years. Now the Packers are playoff regulars and won the Super Bowl in 1997. Favre retired on March 4th and now wants to come back. The Packers brass allegedly has said they have moved on and Favre can come back as a back up.

Excuse me?

Brett Favre a backup? Well he's backing a fellow Pro Football Hall of Famer right? Nope, just a guy in Aaron Rodgers who hasn't played a full game yet! The University of California graduate is supposedly the team's quarterback of the future and the Packers (the brass) can't wait to get him on the field. But when a guy who has played 14 consecutive seasons for your franchise (meaning he's relatively injury free), led the team to the conference championship game last season and the team has a great chance to make it far again wouldn't you want to give your team it's best chance to win and bring him back despite the timeline of March passing?

Not in Packers front office. They'd rather play the hardline and say they told Brett so instead of realizing they could afford to have a Hall of Famer who had arguably his best season for at least one more season. While it's understandable in the business side of the NFL that the team wants to know what is going on before free-agency and all doesn't Favre deserve a little time to breathe before he makes these decisions and an opportunity to change his mind? I think many great players would be welcomed back.

Now I know many people say Favre has been flip flopping on whether to retire for the last few years but given the loss of his father and his wife's cancer scare I feel the questioning of one's self could be justified. In the end he has only retired once and he now admits he's "guilty of retiring too early".

And maybe if you had an upper management that seems to want to push you out the door (or at least isn't making moves to keep you like a legend would expect) and they want you to make a decision early in the off-season when the loss versus the New York Giants is still fresh in the memory and may cause you to think that you are ready to go prematurely. Maybe you'd be ready to retire also.

Or so you think...

Then, as months have passed, you think of your yearn for the game and the fact you still think you can make a difference for your team, whether it's Green Bay or not! So you stand up for yourself and say you want to play and the same intensity and character that has lead you to the great career you had is now being termed a negative.

People are "saying just give it up all ready" or "he's being selfish"! It's ridiculous that many people take the side of the businees instead of the worker who gave his blood, sweat and tears over a long career.This is especially true in football where contracts aren't guarenteed. Favre risked his career when he didn't need to because it was the right and winning thing to do.

For those who say in real life Favre couldn't come back to a job after he retired I will agree with you but also hear this...this isn't real life, it's pro football! I'm not sure Favre will comeback and make an significiant impact or not (I say yes: he will still be very productive) but I do think Favre deserves the opportunity to go out on his own terms. It's not so easy to give up the only thing you know of. While the established legacy isn't going anywhere sometimes it doesn't matter if it does or not.

Like Michael Jordan (who took a year and a half off when retired the first time and still got his job back) sometimes you want to compete and do what you love whether you are viewed in the same light or not.

During those lean years (mainly: the Mike Sherman coached era) the team had little to no defense and Favre was expected to gunsling his way to wins. Favre didn't put up his best numbers, threw a lot of picks and given his time of service questioned whether he could still play. Since the team has reloaded, Favre has played increasingly better and brought into the head coach's system and made better decisions. With a running game to help him this team, Favre could possibly lead the Pack back to "Titletown". Is this really the time to throw new wood into the fire over picking asbestos, which doesn't burn (too much) under pressure. Favre isn't perfect (as witnessed by many who saw that horrible pick in OT versus the Giants) but still gives the Pack the best chance to win.

If Green Bay wants to move on with their team that's fine just don't jerk Favre around because he has jerked them around throughout his career with the team. Favre hasn't had the injury issues Joe Montana had before the San Francisco 49ers decided to go with a player in Steve Young that actually showed a lot in his limited time off the bench with the 49ers and actually started games in the United States Football League and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers so these comparisons I'm hearing are difficult to relate.

Favre played some of his best ball ever last season and we all know sports is a 'what have you done for me lately' profession. If that's the case then Favre has two strong cases for why he should get his job back without question.

GM Ted Thompson with a then rookie Aaron Rodgers circa 2005

In a perfect world Aaron Rodgers understands that he's playing under a legend and will take a contract extension instead of walking because he knows there aren't a lot of open jobs in the NFL anyway (Daunte Culpepper anyone?) and he's an apprentice to a real sweet gig if he shows patience. Favre comes back and plays till he wants to retire like someone in his position has earned. If Rodgers (although he seems level-headed and hasn't said much of anything since the story broke) doesn't want to come back after his contract is done the team drafted Brian Brohm from Louisville (a QB many believed was 1st pick quality a year ago) for the future and have Craig Nall as another back-up so they would still be ok.

Ted Thompson is damning himself because he will forever be known as the general manager who pushed the team's greatest QB out the door. He and head coach Mike McCarthey need to swallow their collective egos (because they drafted Rodgers and want to see their guy play) and let Favre come back. It's the best for all parties because I'm sure the teammates aren't excited to play with an unproven player in Rodgers when Favre wants back in. While they don't want to hurt Rodgers they know it would be a step back. The team (especially the veterans) knows what it gets with Favre: guts, touchdowns, leadership and some interceptions.

Also if the Packers do decide to try and trade Favre it won't be to a whatever team they want because Favre has a "faux" no trade clause because of his time with the team and the fact he's currently on the retired list. If he does'nt like the team he'll just sit and earn the money he's owed which will hurt the Packers financially. So it's best if the Packers say "let's work together" because Favre can basically hold the team hostage if he chose to and create a media circus. Haven't they (and we) seen enough?

Favre says he wouldn't comeback to be the backup just to spite the team and I believe him because he's never shown that in his character. Favre wants to come back and play because he's passionate about the game. If Thompson was truely interested in preserving Favre's legacy he would have never mentioned Favre being a back-up to anyone! How does that preserve anything?

Any questions, comments, suggestions email Clayton at clayton@geoclan.com.

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