It’s become difficult to take Brett Favre at his word when it comes to whether he’s truly done playing football. Numerous times in the past, he has said he’s done and he has returned.
But when Favre said Thursday there’s no way he’s coming back, he likely meant it.
Giving Favre’s words unprecedented credence were his concerns about head trauma, concerns he never before had articulated.
“I don’t remember my daughter playing soccer, playing youth soccer, one summer,” Favre told 570 SportsTalk in D.C., via USA Today.
“I don’t remember that. I got a pretty good memory, and I have a tendency like we all do to say, ‘Where are my glasses?’ and they’re on your head. This was pretty shocking to me that I couldn’t remember my daughter playing youth soccer, just one summer, I think. I remember her playing basketball, I remember her playing volleyball, so I kind of think maybe she only played a game or two. I think she played eight. So that’s a little bit scary to me.
“For the first time in 44 years, that put a little fear in me. . . . I think after 20 years, God only knows the toll.”
That’s a much more somber message than the one projected four years ago, when Favre was interviewed by Cris Collinsworth prior to a Sunday night game involving the Vikings.
“People have asked me how many concussion I’ve had,” Favre said, “and I say, ‘I don’t remember.’”
Favre paused for a laugh, but he didn’t get one.
“There’s probably no telling,” Favre said.
Indeed there isn’t. Favre played the bulk of his career before the NFL became sensitive to concussions and other mild brain trauma regarded in the past as a mere ringing of the bell. Favre fought through plenty of injuries over the years, and it would be foolish to think he didn’t suffer plenty of concussions in the years before concussions were taken seriously.
It’s all the more reason for Favre to stay retired. With U.S. Judge Anita Brody scheduled to give preliminary approval to the concussion settlement on Monday, any player who is retired at that point is eligible for compensation in the event of a current or future “severe cognitive impairment.” While Favre may not be severely impaired now, staying out of the NFL keeps him qualified for future compensation, if the situation worsens over time.