As the on-again, off-again, back-and-forth, will-he-or-won’t-he routine continues yet again regarding quarterback Brett Favre, Tom Curran has pointed out to me an old item from PFT articulating our thoughts as to Favre’s habit of publicly hemming and hawing about his future.
Said a presumably apoplectic Curran via e-mail, “He started this [crap] back in 2002.”
We considered at that point re-posting the item, and then we decided to go ahead and do it in light of the ridiculous new report that Favre is “conflicted.”
He’s not conflicted. He’s looking to knock down the appearance that he’s barging in on a team that doesn’t want or need him by putting out the word that key players who wear purple are pleading with him to play. And he wants to be sure that everyone realizes in advance that, if he stinks, the excuse is/will be that his arm still isn’t right.
Regardless of the reason, we’re beyond sick of it. It’s newsworthy and we have no choice but to cover it. But the man systematically has squandered much of his legacy without getting in trouble off the field, and without embarrassing himself on it.
So we’ve copied and pasted below the full text of the item from January 30, 2006, in the days that we were edging dangerously close to beginning to show evidence that we might eventually become a mainstream site.
When we finally reach the mainstream, please let us know.
Here it is . . . . .
We mean no disrespect to Packers quarterback Brett Favre. But if someone is ever writing a book on how to properly walk away from a high-end career in professional sports, Favre should be consulted for the chapter on how not to do it.
The whole “will he or won’t he?” thing has become an annual issue for several years now — primarily because Brett himself began publicly musing about his future more than three years ago.
Our research reveals that the issue first came up in September 2002, when Favre opened up to Peter King of Sports Illustrated: “I think about retirement a heck of a lot more than I used to. . . . I miss home. I know it’s nuts but Mike Sherman told us today that he was giving us Saturday and Sunday off this week, and the guys were all excited. All I could think was, I wish I could be on my lawn mower back home.”
Let’s put this in perspective. In September 2002, Favre was only 32. No one had any reason to suspect that Favre’s career could be winding down. Quarterbacks can play at a high level past age 35. In 2005, Minnesota’s Brad Johnson looked great at 37.
Since then, the story won’t go away — primarily since Favre won’t quit talking about it. We can’t recall any other NFL star allowing himself to get sucked into an ongoing dialogue regarding the date, time, and place of his retirement, primarily because most past NFL stars have operated under the unwavering presumption that they will continue to play until they announce that it’s time to leave.
Dan Marino, to our recollection, didn’t toy with the media for a year or longer before he packed it in. Ditto for Emmitt Smith, Troy Aikman, and Steve Young.
The only guy who allowed himself to be pulled into a discussion as to whether he’d be back for another go was John Elway, who pondered the possibility of going out on top after beating Favre’s Packers in the Super Bowl eight years ago — and who then said early in the offseason that he’s coming back for another year. And who then won another championship before riding off into the sunset.
For Favre, the tease continues. Days after G.M. Ted Thompson and new coach Mike McCarthy went to Mississippi to kiss Favre’s ring (and his tractor-riding ass), he tells ESPN’s Chris Mortensen that, if a decision were required today, Favre wouldn’t be back.
But since a decision isn’t required today, why is Favre flapping his fangs about it? What benefit is gained by floating the idea that he won’t be back at a time weeks before a final decision is due? Hell, why even give the interview so early in the offseason, when memories of a 4-12 record and his worst season as a starter are still raw and fresh?
We sure hope that Favre’s agent, Bus Cook, didn’t cajole Brett into granting the interview request from Mortensen in light of Mort’s glowing article regarding Cook’s next Favre, Jay Cutler of Vanderbilt. We’re not suggesting that Mort skewed his item in favor of Cutler in order to gain access to Favre, but we wouldn’t be surprised to learn that Cook nudged Favre to sit down with Mortensen because Cook felt like he “owed one” to Mort.
Regardless of the motivation, we think that Favre’s best bet is to say nothing at all about his plans until it’s time to announce them. And even though Brett doesn’t come off as a guy who craves attention, it’s hard not to conclude that lurking at the heart of this daytime drama is a healthy dose of good old-fashioned vanity.