If it was any other team, if it was any other situation, you get the feeling Brett Favre would have made his retirement announcement by now.
The need for ankle surgery if he wants to play one more year, should have been all the reason Brett needed to make his mind up. That should have been the red flag. But not so fast.
You get the feeling Favre wants to give it a go one more time. The bitter taste of that last pass he threw in New Orleans in the NFC Championship Game is still in his mouth. He knows the Vikings are built to win, and they are built to win now. And he also knows they need him to get back to where they want to be.
In a published e-mail to ESPN last week, Favre pretty much summed it all up. "The decision," he wrote, "would be easy if not for my teammates and the fans and the entire Vikings staff. One year truly felt like 10—much like Green Bay for many years. That's what I was missing in my heart I suppose, a sense of belonging."
One could read between the lines that Favre had lost that "sense of belonging" in Green Bay toward the end. He hadn't found it in New York either during his one year with the Jets. But he did find it in Minnesota.
A year ago it was shoulder surgery that Favre had to ponder if he wanted to continue his career. But of course a year ago, he didn't have these same feelings to deal with. He didn't have that sense of belonging. He didn't have that incredible sense of acceptance that he received in Minnesota from the lifelong Vikings fans—fans who had spent the better part of two decades rooting against the future hall of fame quarterback.
It was like the McCoy's welcoming in the head of the Hatfield family when he knocked on their door and said he wanted to move in with them; that he'd had it with the Hatfields. They smiled, gestured him into their house, and before you knew it they had started calling him Dad.
Minnesota nice, I guess.
Favre should probably retire. Someone, somewhere, is trying to tell him that. But, then again, it is kind of interesting, isn't it, that the injury he suffered came in the last game he played in last year (although Brett says the ankle was injured before that game, and the injury he suffered in the Saints game just added to the overall condition of the ankle)? And that he was, in a way, given time to get surgery if he did indeed want to continue on?
In a way it's like Favre is getting a mixed message. On the one hand, the retirement choice seems like an obvious one. 40 years old, 19 years in the league, a great season to go out on. Ankle pain. That's it, Brett. Ride off into the sunset.
But on the other hand, it's almost as if someone is also saying, oh, take some time, get the ankle fixed. That is a damn good team they have there in Minnesota, you know? They really like you there. Good fishing in Minnesota; you betcha. And they play the Saints again in the first game. Be nice to fix that, wouldn't it?
I mean, can you really blame Brett for being a bit confused?