So it’s over. Again. For the second straight year, Brett Favre has decided to retire.
This time, I think it’s for good. This time, I think Favre will stick to his decision. There will be no constant stream of rumors this time around. No rumors that he’s working out. No rumors that he wants to play again.
There will be no summer full of controversy. No interview with FOX News. No bickering back and forth between Favre and the Green Bay Packers. No trade. No looking at him in a non-Packers uniform and thinking that he looks old and out of place.
There was no teary good bye, as there was a year ago at this time. Favre has decided to stay home in Mississippi and email his retirement in. He told his agent to tell the New York Jets the year long experiment was over.
This time around, I really think Favre will do it differently. I really think he is going to stick to his decision. I don’t think he’ll do the talk show circuit like he did a year ago. This time, Favre is just going to lay low.
Why do I think it’s over this time? Why do I think Favre is going to stick to his decision when he didn’t a year ago?
Well, things are different now. For one thing, Favre was always wanted in Green Bay. Even though Jets ownership and new coach Rex Ryan have publicly stated they want Favre to return, Favre teammates haven’t been as quick to come out and say the same thing. Players came out after the 2008 season ended and took Favre to task for a number of different things. That never happened in Green Bay. No teammate before Thomas Jones had ever suggested that Favre needed to be benched. The criticism that Favre took from his teammates probably hurt him more than any negative press he ever got. Favre always said he loved playing the game, that the best part of playing was having fun with the guys. The players who came out and ripped Favre obviously weren’t having any fun playing with him. Favre realized that and has decided discretion is indeed the better part of valor.
Favre also dealt with something this past season that he hadn’t really had to deal with before. Shoulder problems. It wasn’t just that Favre was injured. He’s dealt with injuries throughout his career. But never before last season had an injury caused Favre’s performance to suffer. There was speculation in December that there was something wrong with his arm when he stopped making throws he used to make with ease. That speculation was confirmed shortly after the Jets’ season came to an end. It’s very possible Favre just didn’t want to go through a rigorous rehab process. After all , Favre has struggled with his commitment over the last few years. An injury such as the one he suffered might have been the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back.
Favre is also more media savvy than a lot of people want to give him credit for. There was a segment of the media that was on his side when he decided to come out of retirement last July. There were media people who believed that Favre should have been handed his old job and felt bad when the Packers drew a line in the sand and held firm. Those same media people tried to give Favre every benefit of the doubt when the trade was made to New York, and he struggled with the transition to a new team. If Favre were to reverse field again, decide to play, and play for a different team (such as the Vikings), those media members who gave Favre the benefit of the doubt will turn on him. They will call him selfish. Favre was hurt deeply by some of the criticism he took last season, and knows that another year like last year will not be good for his reputation.
So it’s over. There will be no Act III. There will be no summer drama. Brett Favre’s great career has come to an end.
And I’m not waffling on that stance.