Tuesday August 5th, 2008

So let me get this straight: It has just today dawned on Brett Favre the Packers neither want him around, or want him playing for anybody in their division?

It has also finally occurred to him his presence poses an undeniable distraction at Packers camp, and it could be difficult to truly forgive and forget everything that has transpired between him and Green Bay's front office these past five weeks? After all this, Favre saw fit to label this debacle "a stalemate''?

Welcome back to reality, Brett. What exactly took you so long? In essence, what Favre acknowledged Tuesday is what the rest of us have known for a while now in this torturous saga: In the case of No. 4 and the Packers, there's no way to ever put Humpty Dumpty back together again in any recognizable fashion. Favre may be physically back in Green Bay, but he's not back in any other sense.

The dream Favre has held onto for weeks and weeks now is simply not possible any more. He wanted to waltz back into Green Bay and resume his previous life exactly the way he left it in early March. As if nothing had changed, except for a few pages on the calendar. He wanted his old locker back, his old starting job there waiting for him, and he wanted to pick up the fairytale/curse it must be to be Brett Favre in Green Bay.

And I wish Saturday Night Live was still edgy and well-written, but we can't have everything in life.

Favre showing up on that tarmac in Green Bay on Sunday made for good video, and I'm sure he enjoyed the feeling of being the conquering hero, returning to save the day. But in the end, even he could recognize there was no way to un-do all that has been said and done in this drama, and his attendance in Packers camp only made a bigger side show of things than they already were. Maybe the trip north from Mississippi was worth it for Favre, if only that it forced him to see for himself just how unfixable the situation is in Green Bay.

As much as Favre still wants what he wants, he at least is coming around to the realization he doesn't have any desire to blow up his ex-teammates 2008 season even before it really starts. He may never forgive Packers general manager Ted Thompson or head coach Mike McCarthy for what he perceives is their shoddy treatment of him, but Mr. Packer also doesn't want to be remembered as the guy who put his own interests above the team and left them there indefinitely.

So now we know this much: Favre has to either accept a trade, probably to the team of Green Bay's choosing, not his, or face the galling prospect of re-retirement (without the glitzy Sports Illustrated commemorative edition this time).

Yet another meeting was reportedly held Tuesday between Favre and Thompson, and both men must know by now a trade is the only way out of this mess. Favre will push for a deal to Minnesota once again, if the cleared-of-tampering Vikings are even in the mood to go that route at this point, and the Packers will likely push back, trying to get him to agree to become either a Jet (my odds-on favorite) or a Buc.

It'll be the same old tug-of-war, and haven't we all been stuck in exactly this same spot for weeks and weeks now? Many, many 24-hour news cycles ago? The only thing that has changed is Favre has at last discovered you really can't go home again.

We've now been treated to breathless footage of Favre arriving, and Favre departing. All in less than a 48-hour span. We've seen the specter of an open quarterback competition raised, and then quickly quashed. We've seen Favre realize it's just not going to happen in Green Bay, and overrule the advice of his wife, Deanna, and his agent, James "Bus'' Cook, both of whom encouraged him to take to the Packers practice field.

For me, Tuesday's moment of levity came in the middle of Favre's reported comments to ESPN. "They want to know if I'm committed [to playing], but I want to know if they're 100 percent committed [to me],'' Favre said, of the Packers.

Here's a news flash: The correct answers are no, and no. That's how we got here in the first place. All those many weeks ago.

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