Favre Favre and More Favre and Yet More Favre and Favre Again

God bless the ongoing Brett Favre saga. Based more on rumors, speculation, innuendo, and guesswork rather than on hard facts, it’s perfect for us bloggers.

Here’s what we know to be true: On Wednesday, ESPN reported that Favre and/or his agent had contacted the Packers about Favre either returning to the Packers or the Packers releasing Favre, thereby freeing the 38-year-old future Hall of Famer to play elsewhere. These same reports said that his family had been pushing him to un-retire, with his brother Scott telling WTMJ-TV in Milwaukee that Favre’s return was a “50-50” shot and that his brother had been “working out.”  Favre then told Mississippi’s Sun-Herald newspaper that the reports were “all rumor.”

OK, now that we have the boring facts out of the way, let’s get back to the much more interesting job of speculating by posing and answering some questions:

1. Should Favre make a comeback? Yes. He is still without a doubt one of the best quarterbacks in the league. Not in a historical sense, but in a current, who-would-you-build-a-championship-team-around sense. But that isn’t really the right question. (Yes, I know I wrote it, but hold on.)

2. Should Favre have retired on March 4? That’s the right question. And the answer is a definite no. Dude can still bring it.

3. Does Favre regret his decision to retire? Sure seems like it. Even if you don’t buy into any of the stories from the past week, you only have to go back to Favre’s April 24 appearance on Late Show with David Letterman as proof that Favre was feeling that he might have screwed up. If he was regretting it then, two more months of sitting around in Mississippi are likely to only have made those feelings stronger.

4. Should the Packers welcome Favre back? Here’s where it gets interesting. If the story stays on this level of rumors and what-ifs, then the Packers are in control of the situation. But if Favre calls a press conference or otherwise clearly and without any room for misunderstanding states that he wants to return to the Packers to be their starting quarterback for the 2008 season, then the Packers have almost no choice but to take him back. It would be a public relations catastophe for the Packers should they not allow the most popular player in their history and one of the most popular people in the history of the state of Wisconsin to return.

5. Do the Packers want Favre back? Obviously not. Favre’s mother told WITI-TV in Milwaukee that he not only feels that the Packers don’t want him to return now, but that he’s felt the Packers have wanted to move on without him for the “last couple of years.” Seems crazy, but also seems accurate.

6. Should the Packers take Favre back? Again, they almost have to if he pushes it, but the answer here is no. Despite Favre’s greatness, despite Favre’s legacy, despite everything he has given to the Packers organization, this retirement saga has become frankly ludricous. Favre is coming off like the youngest child in the family who wants to move away from home but can’t really bring himself to face the outside world and keeps returning home. The Packers are Favre’s parents who want to sell the house and move to a warmer climate but can’t do it until all their children are definitely on their own. You take the child back once, maybe twice, but sooner or later they have to be firm and put that house on the market. The Packers have not only put the house on the market, but with Rodgers and the drafting of two rookie quarterbacks, they’ve sold the house. The Packers are ready for a Favre-less future; Favre has to make himself ready for a Packers-less future.

7. Should the Packers release Favre? Yes. If they don’t want him and Favre still wants to play, the Packers owe it to him to give him that opportunity to play for another team.

8. Will Favre play elsewhere? I doubt it. And that’s what is making this so difficult. If Favre wanted to play somewhere else and he knew (as I believe he does) that the Packers don’t want him back, then he would be more public in his desire to return, knowing that by forcing the Packers’ hand, either he goes back to Green Bay or he goes to another team. There are numerous teams that would certanly sign Favre, so that’s not the issue. The issue is Favre’s loyalty to the Packers organization and to the Packers fans. I believe he simply has a very hard time picturing himself in any other uniform.

9. Where could Favre play? The fascinating thing is that the two most obvious teams for Favre to go to are the Bears and the Vikings. The Vikings make the most sense, as they appear to be one piece — the quarterback — away from being a serious contender. And they play indoors. Yes, I said that as a positive for Favre. Despite fans’ image of Favre playing in sub-zero temperatures, Favre has made it clear in recent seasons that he doesn’t like playing in inclement weather. And Favre has performed much better in domes, specifically the Metrodome, recently. I just don’t see Favre — here’s that loyalty issue again — donning the purple. And the Bears are in freefall. Favre is smart enough to stay away from that mess. Should Favre play outside of Wisconsin, it seems that Carolina, Atlanta, Houston, Tampa Bay, and maybe the Jets — all teams with positives outside of the quarterback postion — seem to be the likeliest candidates, with Carolina and Atlanta having the geographical position that Favre would likely favor.

10. If Favre did return to the Packers, what becomes of Aaron Rodgers? Despite Rodgers’s stupid comments about Packer fans needing to embrace him by “get(ting) on board now or keep(ing) their mouths shut,” Rodgers would be clearly be the biggest loser in this situation. And he would be wise to demand, and the Packers would be wise to grant, a trade should Favre return. Again, the situation is ridiculous and Rodgers is paying the steepest price for it. To avoid becoming a walking joke, he’d need to get out of town as quickly as possible should Favre be brought back to line up under center on September 8.   

So there you have it. Favre should come back and he has the right to come back, but the Packers shouldn’t take him back. Unless they have to. Favre should play for the Vikings if the Packers don’t want him but he won’t. Aaron Rodgers could be the next great quarterback in Packers history but could also be the biggest joke in Packers history. All good enough reasons from a blogger’s perspective to hope this story never dies.

Postscript: On Sunday it appeared less likely that the Brewers would win the C.C. Sabathia sweepstakes, as the Indians were apparently asking for more Brewers prospects than the Brewers want to give up. I’m fine with the Brewers not landing Sabathia. Despite Sabathia’s obvious talent, the Brewers haven’t had a lot of success in signing big-name, big-ticket pitchers (Eric Gagne — duh — and Jeff Suppan, who’s quickly becoming the least-reliable starter in the Brewers rotation) and their current starting pitching has been very strong as of late. A prospect like Matt LaPorta would not only be tough to lose, but he represents the kind of player that the Brewers have built their recent winning philosophy on. Of course, the Brewers may be preparing for life after Ben Sheets, but why give up more for Sabathia than they could possibly re-sign Sheets for? I’d be surprised to see Sabathia become a Brewer.


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