Saturday, August 16, 2008

SPORTS: Break A Leg, Brett

Was a fan of Brett Favre. Not any more. Hope he gets plenty mashed in New York. He might then appreciate how good he had it in Green Bay, afterall.

The Favre story was a pretty good one. NOT a lifetime Packer (he DID start down in Atlanta), he nevertheless cemented a Hall-of-Fame career in cheese country. He went out on a high note, leading the Packers to an unexpected National Conference championship game, before falling, in overtime, to the eventual Super Bowl champs, the New York Giants. He held a tearful retirement presser and filed his papers with the NFL.

Green Bay management tried to talk him out of retirement. They'd gotten used to doing it the last couple of years. They kept drafting quarterbacks in case Favre was serious. This time he was. He waffled a bit, but claimed his wife put a kibosh on it.

So, having twice, once before and once after, to try and convince Brett he had a year (or two) still to play, Green Bay set up their off-season agenda. Using money freed up by not having Favre taking up a sizable percentage of the salary cap, Green Bay strengthened other positions and drafted another QB, to start off the post-Favre era. The money was spent. Spring training camp came and went.

Then, Favre decided, wife-be-damned, he wanted to play. And since the first phone call to Green Bay didn't result in cartwheels about the change in heart, version umptymillion, he decided to take offence and demand that Green Bay release him so that he could play anywhere his little brain desired (I can't say little heart, because we all know how big-hearted he is). And there's where he lost me.

Green Bay acted in good faith. They truly believed they'd put Favre's big contract behind them. They spent (hopefully) wisely the money previous allotted to Favre. No, there was no money in the till to put that contract BACK on the books. Now, if Favre, who's made a TON of money from Green Bay over the years, had offered to restructure to play for his equivalent of peanuts, he could have been welcomed back. But eo accommodate his coming back, Green Bay would have had to cut and/or restructure contracts. I doubt it would have been possible. Favre COULD have said I'll play for the minimum. But he didn't.

He not only wanted to play, he wanted his multi-millions too. Which he COULD have had, had he decided to return before Green Bay set up its post-Favre plans.

And putting the stake through the hearts of those who'd paid him so well over the years, he didn't want a trade, he wanted to pick his own new uniform. And those black beauties in Chicago or the purple pants in Minnesota looked awfully good to him. It's one thing NOT to have Favre in the line-up. It's another thing to deliver him, FOR FREE, to one of those other teams in the competitive division Green Bay resides in.

No way they were going to let Favre say Thanks for All the Years, by helping trying to beat the Pack!

All of this is obvious to anyone who doesn't have a vested interest in the fortunes of the Packers, Bears or Vikings. I'm sorry. You CAN change your mind. But then you have to honour the contract your took into retirement. And that doesn't make you a free agent because management is sick and tired of your waffling and wants to get on with their organizational lives.

And speaking of waffling, didn't Favre seriously negotiate a 20 million bribe to STAY retired? Sort of impacts on the belief he wants to come back some, doesn't it. Others will see his refusal to take the bribe as something pure and praise-worthy. That the same package will be there for him upon his REAL retirement means it's hollow praise.

Athletes frequently live in a cocoon. It's almost a metaphor for a quarterback's pass protection, isn't it? Here's hoping Favre gets a knock in the head and wakes up to the reality that he's lost his beloved status.

Break a leg Brett. I really, really mean it.

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