We’ve seen the reports from Judd Zulgad and Jay Glazer. We have no reason to doubt them.
Brett Favre has told the Vikings that he will not play in 2010, citing his lingering ankle problem and other physical wear and tear.
That’s fine. We believe he said it. We believe he believes it.
But we also believe Favre will play again.
He’ll be in the Superdome on the evening of September 9, when the Vikings face the Saints to start the 2010 season. He’ll be there. He’ll be wearing something other than cutoff jeans and flip-flops.
We believe that in part because we rarely believe anything anyone connected to the NFL says. We’ve developed that attitude because, on too many past occasions, a player or a coach or a G.M. or an owner says one thing, and then does the exact opposite.
As it relates to Favre, his own history supports the conclusion that he’ll be back. He retired in 2008. He later reiterated his intention to call it quits, scoffing at rumors that he hoped to return for another season. And he played/
He retired in 2009. In late July, he told the Vikings that he would not join them. Then, just as many of us began to believe that he really was finished, Favre played.
This year, whether he’s consciously doing it or not, Favre needs to once again convince us that he won’t come back, for two reasons.
First, he needs the Vikings fans to rejoice when Lord Favre rides in on a white steed to save the team from a plunge to black-and-blue mediocrity. And they won’t rejoice unless they first believe in their hearts that Prince Graybeard isn’t coming.
Second, he needs an excuse for his own potential mediocrity. In his quest to ride off into the sunset with a Lombardi Trophy tucked into the back pocket of his Wranglers, Favre fears embarrassing himself. So if he plays poorly, it can’t happen because he’s lost his magic. There needs to be a good reason for a Willie Mays/Joe Namath/John Unitas end to his career unrelated to whether Favre can still bring it.
Last year, it was a biceps tendon, along with an assortment of maladies that he cited multiple times prior to the start of the season, so that we all knew that if he stunk it up it happened because of his battle scars, not because he’s no longer good enough.
This year, it’s his ankle. The one on which he had supposedly minor surgery. The one that all of a sudden is preventing him from doing the stuff a pocket-passing quarterback does with his legs.
(Maybe he simply was concerned that he’d fail the conditioning test.)
Either way, he’ll be back. We joked yesterday that maybe he wants more money. Whether he wants it or not, look for the Vikings to throw a few extra million onto the $13 million base salary he’s due to earn this year. And look for anyone named Wilf to bend a knee and beg Favre to change his mind.
And then look for Favre to reluctantly comply. Possibly as late as the eve of the start of full-blown preparation for the regular-season opener, making Brett’s Third Annual Unretirement the dominant story over Labor Day Weekend.
Heck, it’s also possible that he never even goes to Minnesota before joining the team, and that he simply jumps the puddles between Hattiesburg to New Orleans, walks into the locker room, belts out a verse or two of Pants on the Ground, asks for a helmet, slaps a few asses, and tells his teammates that it’s time to go take care of unfinished business.
When it happens, it will be dramatic. It will be memorable. It will be great.
That’s precisely why Favre has decided to retire now. He knows — whether he’s even able to admit it to himself or anyone else — that he needs to build the drama. And the drama will indeed build.
And come early September we’ll all learn what we’ve suspected for the entire offseason.
Brett Favre will play.