Thursday July 17th, 2008

With the Brett Favre un-retirement drama now entering its third fun-filled week, the topic has unquestionably risen to the status of deserving of its own separate edition of Snap Judgments, with all the accordant musings, observations and occasional insights that you've come to know and love (or at least tolerate) ...

• This is going to get the Favre apologists' undies in a bunch, but here goes: From my vantage point, Favre, the past two weeks, has come off as just another selfish superstar who wants what he wants, regardless of the consequences to his team or his ex-teammates. Favre's been great for the Packers. But the Packers have also been great to Favre, and he's seeing everything as a one-way street about now. Just the way so many of the great ones eventually do, after they've been built up and lionized and called legendary so often that it becomes part of their name.

I've got no problem with Favre wanting to play again. My problem with him is he put everyone through the charade of his retirement in March, with all its deserved fanfare. If he would have played it out in his head for even five minutes, the havoc he would wreak from un-retiring in early July, he would have realized it would be best for everyone not to make a hasty decision in March.

But that's what he was feeling then, so he went with it, even though it had huge consequences for the Packers, Aaron Rodgers and everyone in the Green Bay organization. And now he's feeling something different, so he's going with that, even though it has huge and potentially destructive consequences for the Packers, Rodgers and everyone in the Green Bay organization.

You can say he changed his mind and leave it at that. I say in doing so he has acted selfishly and ignored the reality his actions affect far more than just himself.

• So now, after all that has been said and done to tinge his relationship with the Packers forever, we find out through Favre's agent, Bus Cook, that No. 4 has "no definite plans for re-instatement.'' OK. But that has been exactly the problem with Favre for about three years now. He doesn't know exactly what he wants. At least not for long. And I think it's fair to say that has made things a little tricky for his employer at times. We now know he's not sure about retirement, or un-retirement. Until he makes up his mind with a little decisiveness, we're all in for more of the same rollercoaster ride.

• Sorry, but this has to be asked: Greta Van Susteren? What, was Nancy Grace already booked that night? For a minute there I thought Favre might have some new information on the Natalee Holloway disappearance.

• Just so we're clear on this, there's no way to put this genie back in the bottle when it comes to Favre, the Packers, and the 16-year love-fest that they've enjoyed. Yeah, I can still see Favre showing up at Lambeau to have his uniform number retired in a couple years (not this year), and he'll go into Canton wearing a yellow blazer that can almost pass for part of Green Bay's color scheme. And he'll say he was always a Packer at heart, no matter what transpired at the end.

But the warm fuzziness of his final glorious season in Green Bay, and his unique relationship with that town, that team and its special fan base has been altered. Perhaps only slightly, but perhaps significantly more than that. Time will ultimately tell, but my gut tells me nobody's going to come out of this one looking like a winner. Not Favre. Not the Packers. And not all those Cheeseheads who desperately wanted to believe Favre and Green Bay were one of those rare NFL marriages built to last.

• Saw the other day where Favre called the past couple weeks his "ordeal,'' and I'm sure it feels that way. But isn't it largely an ordeal of his making? No one forced him to vacillate on the issue of retirement for the past three years, and I also don't think it passes the sniff test that the Packers pressured him into making his tearful retirement announcement in early March.

It's his own state of indecision that has created the "ordeal.'' Nothing else.

• Let's leave aside for a moment any debate about whether Aaron Rodgers deserves a display of loyalty from the organization after waiting three years in the wings for a shot at Green Bay's starting job. Maybe he does. Maybe he doesn't. Rodgers might wind up being the next Jerry Tagee or Scott Hunter when it comes to his place among Packers quarterbacks.

But I'd like to ask Favre this: Do you think you'd be the kind of teammate you'd want to have if you walked in and yanked the rug out beneath Rodgers at this point, just days before the start of training camp? Isn't that the kind of me-first stunt that a respected team leader like Favre was never afraid to call out a teammate for? Isn't that right, Javon Walker?

• For that matter, I don't think Favre did any favors for his ex-teammate and current Packers offensive line coach James Campen either. I'm not sure Campen got thrown under the bus, but he didn't get treated by Favre the way Favre would have wanted to be treated. Like I said earlier, Favre wants what he wants, and it seems like nothing else really matters.

• All I know is that when ESPN starts running a crawl line at the bottom of the screen with a category that says just FAVRE, right there alongside the NL, AL, NBA, NHL and NFL, it would seem we reached some sort of new milestone in terms of the definition of saturation coverage.

• Then again, I'm guessing Roger Clemens is pretty darn happy the Favre saga continues to roll on, consuming so much of the oxygen in the room in terms of the sports media at mid-summer. And how 'bout that All-Star Game, Roger probably says to anyone who'll listen these days.

• To follow Favre's reasoning on the issue of retirement just this offseason, we're asked to accept he wasn't being truthful about really being done in early March, but we should trust he's definitely shooting straight now about wanting to keep playing. Get my point?

• I know the Packers have no intention of ever letting Favre suit up for either the Vikings or the Bears in the NFC North, but is it an absurd notion to ask whether after all those years in Green Bay's system that it might not be the easiest thing in the world for the 38-year-old Favre to learn another team's offense? I'm just saying he might not walk in the door of a new team playing the kind of football we saw out of him during his remarkable renaissance season of 2007.

• Let's remember something: Not only did the Packers spend most of the offseason getting Rodgers ready to start for them, they drafted not one but two quarterbacks in Brian Brohm (second round) and Matt Flynn (seventh round). That's an organization that sent every possible signal to No. 4 that it was fully committed to moving on.

• I'm not convinced he gives a rat's behind, but my sense is that popular opinion is starting to shift away from Favre's position in this stand-off, even as beloved and iconic a figure as he is. That movement to rally fan support for Favre in Wisconsin this week hasn't exactly generated overwhelming response. Less than 200 folks gathered in Green Bay on Sunday, and a Monday rally in the Milwaukee suburbs drew 30 people, according to media reports.

Of course, the fans who make the pilgrimage to Packers training camp starting next week might make a little noise on behalf of their favorite gunslinging QB.

• Somehow I can't help but think we have Sugar Ray Leonard and Michael Jordan to thank for all of this. Doesn't anybody retire and mean it any more? I'm starting to think that Barry Sanders and Robert Smith really did handle it the way it should be handled. Call it in, mail it in, fax it in, then just disappear.

• It still seems to me that the only way Favre plays in 2008 is via a trade to a non-division team that the Packers are okay with. So if you play it out, maybe Favre goes another couple of years and then hangs it up again at age 40. At that point, will there be another whole new round of retirement retrospectives and verbal or written bouquets tossed his way by everyone within and outside the NFL game? Of course there will.

We'll all be faced with putting a fresh perspective on all those memories and moments that have made up his unique place in the game, forgetting of course that we'll be doing it once again in another five years once he's enshrined in Canton.

Maybe by then, all this will seem long ago, far away, and much ado about nothing. But in mid-July 2008, a case of Favre Fatigue prevails.

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