Monday, January 17, 2011
Could it be that the old saying 'third time's a charm' holds some weight this time? Two sources have told Foxsports.com that Brett Favre has filed his retirement papers with the league office today.
That would mean after 20 seasons (with the Green Bay Packers, New York Jets and Minnesota Vikings) and owning nearly every passing record imaginable that Favre is finally hanging up his cleats... for the final time. This would be the third retirement for Favre, who has become more like a boxer than a football player with all the retirements/un-retirements.
This season, his second with the Minnesota Vikings, was one of the toughest for Favre on -- and off -- the field. Favre's trouble began shortly after three teammates traveled to Mississippi to convince the 41-year-old quarterback to come back for a 20th season.
On the field, Favre and the Vikings struggled to start the season with injuries to his receiving corps and issues with then head coach Brad Childress. Favre saw his consecutive game starts streak end this season at 297 when he could not make a start against the New York Giants in week 14 after the Metrodome roof collapsed.
The last start of Favre's career -- and the last time he even played this season -- came in week 15 against the Chicago Bears. Favre started the game, and even threw a touchdown pass, before leaving the game with a concussion after a sack.
Favre did not play again in the Vikings final two games. The lasting image of Favre this season on the field could come from a week 13 game against the Buffalo Bills.
On the first series of the game, Favre attempted to pass when he took a vicious (but legal) hit from behind by Bills cornerback Drayton Florence. Favre lay on the field for several minutes before walking off on his own power, but did not return due to that shoulder injury.
Off the field, this was one of Favre's worst seasons. In other years Favre was able to overcome the death of his father and help his wife battle cancer during the season and still play at a high level.
This season allegations dogged him -- foremost that he allegedly he sent lewd pictures and messages to a former Jets game day hostess Jenn Sterger. Favre was fined $50,000 by the NFL for failing to cooperate with the investigation.
Even after the season Favre saw more off the field drama with two massage therapists, who say they lost their jobs with the Jets after rejecting his advances, suing him. It seems Favre has too much baggage to encourage his team to bring him back again.
"I cannot think of any circumstance of where I would pick up the phone and say, 'Brett, do you want to come back next season?'" Leslie Frazier said earlier this month when he was elevated to full-time head coach. "I can't think of any circumstance where that would occur."
The man once dubbed the "Old Gunslinger" by legendary coach and commentator John Madden seems to finally have played long enough to go from hero to villain. Fans fed up with Favre's prima-donna style -- and reporters camped out on his lawn all summer awaiting his un-retirement in 2010 -- have turned against him.
In time -- and we will have time since Favre has to wait five years to be eligible for the Hall of Fame -- I think we will remember the childlike way Favre played the game on Sundays.
Fans will -- in time -- remember his smile, his tough guy playing style, and the way he generally loved to play the game.
Favre haters remember this: In 325 career games with the Packers, Jets and Vikings, a total of 21,208,946 fans paid to watch him throw a pass in person, according to STATS LLC. That's more than the populations of New York, London and Los Angeles combined.
It is time for Favre to say 'goodbye' and ride off in a new pair of Wranglers on a tractor to Hattiesburg, MS.
Or to quote another famous quarterback, Dandy Don Meredith, who recently passed way: "Turn off the lights... the party's over."
This does not mean Favre has to stay retired. He can always ask for reinstatement by the NFL. But it seems unlikely that any team will want a 41 year old quarterback with all the drama Favre brings. There does not look like there is a NFL team out there who would bring Favre in next season. It is also safe to say that Favre would only play for a Super Bowl contender.
- Bryan Flynn
Favre is gone this time for real. He has too much heat on his tip to not retire. He's too old to play football and too dumb to cheat on his wife and get away with it. He's washed up. People are suing him and telling everything they know at this point. He's like a pimp whose employees turned on him and put him to work selling his wears except he's too old to perform.