Lots of e-mail this week about Brett Favre and whether he might return to football. I've tried to reach him by phone without success, and the only on-the-record reaction to the latest brushfire about a possible comeback seems to have come in a text message to ESPN's Trent Dilfer. Favre reportedly responded "no'' when Dilfer asked if he was coming out of retirement. So we'll see.
Gary Myers wrote in the New York Daily News over the weekend that Favre was bitter about how things ended in Green Bay, and was motivated, basically, to stick it to Green Bay by coming out of retirement and playing the Packers twice a year. I haven't spoken to Favre in more than a month, so I can't tell you if that's true or not. But we'll start with that topic, in an e-mail from Michael Healyof Louisville:
"If the reports about Favre's bitterness toward Green Bay are true, it's a sad finish to a great career. The guy has it all: legendary status, piles of cash and the adulation of millions of fans. And somehow he comes out of that a twisted, bitter man who apparently finds no joy in any of it. I don't understand Favre any more than I understand the thought process of a cicada.''
My feeling: I've had three conversations with Favre since he retired from the Jets, and he hasn't conveyed any hatred or venom toward the Packers in any of them. But it's also a topic I haven't probed him on either.
But I can tell you that whether he comes back or not, he is not "a twisted, bitter man'' about anything. I spoke to him the last week of March, in just a how's-it-going phone call from the league meetings in California. There wasn't a hint of anger or resentment in his voice, just uncertainty about his future. He had no idea what the future held for him, and we talked about what he might do on TV, and he wasn't sure if he wanted to do any TV work.
My opinion, not from him, is that he didn't like how his career ended in Green Bay and something like that doesn't go away in six or nine months. Six or nine years, maybe. But I'm sure he still feels the sting of what he thought at the time was being dumped by Green Bay to a place he didn't prefer to go. I think Favre will always feel that for all the years he spent in Green Bay, he deserved to go where he wanted, instead of where the Packers wanted to send him. But the Packers, obviously feeling he could hurt them competitively, blocked him from playing for Minnesota.
So we'll see how it goes. Will he play? I'm out of that business. I simply don't know. I was wrong a year ago when I said he was retired for good, and I said this time he was retired for good, and I could well be wrong again. Your guess is as good as mine on this one.
Now onto the other e-mail:
• HE'S TIRED OF FAVRE'S WAFFLING. From Rich of Overland Park, Kan.: "This is me regarding Brett Favre's latest silliness: 'LA LA LA LA LA, I can't hear you!' (Picture me with my eyes closed and my fingers in my ears doing the ignoring dance.)''
I'm sure you have company, Rich.
• GOOD QUESTION ON THE CARDS. From Jason Carmichael of Boston: "With Arizona making it all the way to the Super Bowl by going with their wide-open style, why draft a big, bruising back like Beanie Wells when their offense right now would be better suited to a Brian Westbrook type of back?''
I love that thought because I view Tim Hightower as a pretty good between-the-tackles back. And as I wrote last week, Ken Whisenhunt really wanted Donald Brown of UConn. Brown might have been the most versatile rushing-receiving-blocking back in the draft. Might the Cards have been better off with a better pass-catcher out of the backfield at that point of the draft, like LeSean McCoy? You could certainly make that argument, and it's one I believe is very sound. But remember Whisenhunt's background -- he likes big backs, he likes a bruising running game, and that's what he has now in Hightower and Wells.
• TWITTER QUESTION OF THE WEEK: From Bruce Allen of Boston Sports Media Watch: "Why are you praising the Eagles for doing the same thing you knocked the 'drunk with power' Patriots for doing last week?''
Though in principle you might be right, Bruce, it wasn't the same thing. The Patriots didn't have the same result in trading down as the Eagles did, though they did acquire two second-round picks in 2010 in their wheeling-and-dealing. Philadelphia traded down six spots late in the third round and got one of the top guys they would have taken at 85 (Cornelius Ingram), half the value of a starting corner (Ellis Hobbs), a seventh-round pick this year and third-, fifth- and sixth-round picks next year ... and still exited the draft with three potential impact players in 2009 -- Jason Peters, Jeremy Maclin and LeSean McCoy.
It remains to be seen if the Patriots got the same sort of impact out of their 2009 draft and beyond, but it didn't look like it to me. It surprised me they twice traded down out of the first round for three additional picks instead of taking a tackle of the future like Michael Oher or some higher-rated player at 23 or 26. It could be that Darius Butler, for instance, could have had a mid-first-round grade and by getting him in the low 40s it constituted great value on their board.
As I wrote last week about New England, "The one reason you can never kill this team about drafting is the Patriots have taken a lot of no-name guys high over the years and many have become cornerstones.'' So let's see how it plays out.
• A SOCCER FAN CHECKS IN. From Jeff (no hometown given): "Love reading your work every Monday. Just wanted to point out that the soccer chant you mentioned was meant to be ironic. Something equivalent to Lions fans last year singing, 'We got Dan Orlovsky, who needs Peyton Manning.' To me it kind of sums up what's different between American and European sporting cultures. In Europe there is a real love of the local team, no matter how good or bad they may be. In fact, a lot of fans seem to revel in the fact that they are long suffering. Very different mental attitude towards sport.''
I sensed that. I went to the game in a group with my nephew Adam, a big Blackburn fan. And he was despondent after the game, worse for a longer period than most fans here would be after a regular-season loss by their team. It's great to see people who love their game so much.