At least, that’s the way he was viewed by the Minnesota Vikings, whose exhausting pursuit and inexorable patience for the 39-year-old was more astounding than ambitious.
Adding the fact that Favre is tending to a freshly operated right arm—his throwing appendage, at that—and is but frail in his sense of being, one would be remiss not to question the motives of the Green Bay Packers’ divisional rival.
Queries were cleared yesterday when it was publicly announced that Favre would indeed remain retired, ending coach Brad Childress’ idea of seeing Favre in the centrefold of the Vikings offense.
Whether there is any long-term veracity in Favre’s vow to leave football for the second time around remains to be seen.
However, the sentiment of his most recent confirmation leads us to believe that there is neither the zest nor commitment to play football again.
The Vikings, of course, possessed an exclusive scenario under which Favre could exact revenge on his former team, the Packers, and general manager Ted Thompson, to whom Favre attributes his previous quarrel and ultimate severance with Green Bay.
Presumably noticing he couldn’t endure the wear of another season at his age, Favre proved that he wasn’t a selfish man when he left the sport, even though he was as stubborn as a rusty nail in wood. He didn’t allow the petty prospect of sticking it to Thompson cloud his decision.
According to ESPN, though, the Vikings were more so complicit in trying to see the record touchdown passer’s prospect of retribution come to fruition at the Metrodome.
For the Vikings, it is reported, handed Favre an additional 36 hours to reassess his final conclusion; deployed several players including star running back Adrian Peterson and ubiquitous defensive end Jared Allen to entice Favre with a final persuasive message; and maintained contact until the decision was irrevocable.
All that was missing was an open plea. Through all that, Favre—for his standards—was remarkably lucid, and that could indicate an end to perpetuating a ragged comeback.
“They (the Vikings) were telling me, ‘You went through all this, you had the surgery and you’ve got to finish it off,” Favre told Ed Werder of ESPN. “It was the hardest decision I’ve ever made. I didn’t feel like physically I could play at a level that was acceptable.”
Creating such a spectacular stir for Favre didn’t deter Tarvaris Jackson, one of two leading candidates for the quarterback position.
“He was his cool, calm and collected self,” agent Joel Segal said of his client, Jackson, after Favre’s declaration. “He said, ‘Great, let’s get ready for camp.’”
Sage Rosenfels is the second option in the position and would have been in a spot to battle for a back-up role should Favre have come on to the team.
That’s not the vote of confidence required for two players who were equally instrumental in capturing the NFC North title last year, Peterson’s athleticism aside.
Considering Jackson wasn’t so rattled, perhaps there isn’t much need for extensive damage control on Childress’ behalf.
Besides, the Vikings haven’t actually lost anything by way of talent on their roster.
“It was a rare and unique opportunity to consider adding not only a future Hall of Fame quarterback, but one that is very familiar with our system and division,” Childress said in an open statement. “That does not detract from the team that we have.
“As we have consistently communicated, we feel good about our team. With this behind us, we look forward to getting to Mankato (Minn.) and getting training camp under way.”
But the real testimony is for Favre in this ordeal, as he had a chance to severely hamper not the perception of his Hall of Fame credentials, but of Favre the mind. His stint with the Jets only lasted one season, understandably, although he would have made a legitimate farewell all but impossible if he signed with the Vikings.
Favre was stepping into the realm once inhabited by the late efforts of Michael Jordan, Dominik Hasek and Evander Holyfield—all of whom were unable to identify an appropriate end to their careers.
Sure, Favre played that game for a year. But say his stay in Minnesota saw him embroiled in a quarterback controversy—which the Vikings’ situation could have potentially lend itself to—or his arm couldn’t produce.
It could have been the last five games of last season with Jets, magnified and multiplied.
Looking at Holyfield, for example: The man is 47 years old, unequivocally discouraged by the New York State Athletic Commission for his diminishing skills, and, I'll be damned, he fought and lost to Nikolai Valuev, the current WBA heavyweight champion, last December.
If this is to be Favre’s last period of contemplation—and the Hamlet act is emphatically closed—then there is no chance of seeing him, the historic and storied quarterback, distantly decrepit in action.
Hopefully these are finalized words: “I would like to thank everyone, including the Packers, Jets and Vikings—but, most importantly, the fans.”
And with that, let his name card be affixed to a mantle in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, not another locker.
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