Message to Brett Favre: It's Time to Go and Let the Young Guys Have All the Fun
Here we go again.
After Favre appeared to lose steam late in the season as the Jets went 1-4 in their last five contests, it was reported Tuesday that he suffers from a torn biceps muscle in his throwing arm. Supposedly the tear was significant enough to cause pain not only in his arm, but in his back and shoulder.
While the injury is not serious enough to warrant major surgery—reportedly he could continue to play without surgery—it is significant enough to be implicitly blamed for Brett's late-season slump.
"Oh, he had a torn bicep? Well, no wonder he couldn't hit his receivers in stride! All he needs to do is have some minor surgery and he'll be right as rain!"
I hate to say it folks, because I've always enjoyed the enthusiasm and vigor with which Brett Favre played the game. But his time has come and gone, and he needs to go with it.
Not in a few weeks. Now.
I've suffered a torn bicep. I've also suffered from a torn forearm muscle, a torn hamstring, and back spasms. And I've noticed that they all have one thing in common.
The older I've gotten, the more they have affected me, and the longer they took to heal.
In fact, I have a nagging hamstring injury that I have been dealing with for the better part of two years now. The older I get, the easier it is to re-injure it.
Before you start in on me, I readily admit that I have not played any sports at the level that Brett Favre has for the past 18 years. I was an athlete in high school, but by the time Brett Favre entered the National Football League I was a Marine Corps Corporal, and had been carrying 40 to 50 pound packs on my back for three years.
I spent 14 weeks in hell—also known as Parris Island, South Carolina—where large men with bulging muscles and bad attitudes pushed me to my limits, then pushed a little more. They didn't let up, or allow me to let up, until the General dismissed us from recruit training.
So I know about dealing with pressure.
I worked 16-18 hour days for weeks on end at a support unit during the first Gulf War, sometimes having only enough time to go home, eat whatever meal it was time to serve, change my clothes, and stumble out the door. It nearly ended my marriage, but I prevailed.
So I know what it's like to play tired.
I spent nearly 12 months in Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2004-2005. I wore 40-80 pounds of protective equipment in 140-plus degree heat, and my hours were so screwed up that I had to be medicated just to catch a few nods between crises.
I also suffered a back injury severe enough to require regular shots of lidocaine and cortisone just to keep me moving so I could complete my mission. And I still suffer from the effects of it today.
So I know what it means to push through pain.
I retired from the military in October of 2008. The last day I was with the unit, I became so overwhelmed with emotion that after shaking hands with my fellow soldiers and taking a few pictures, I had to ask my First Sergeant if I could leave a little early so I didn't break down in front of my friends.
So I know what it's like to walk away from something you have invested the entirety of your heart and soul in for all of your adult life.
I also recently found out that my old unit is being redeployed sometime next year. I called a friend to wish him and his family a Merry Christmas, and he told me then that they were headed back out.
I talked with him about it for over an hour, discussing what needed to be done and how the military had screwed the whole process up again—longer story, but suffice it to say the phrase "Charlie Foxtrot" would apply—before going home and telling my wife the news.
So I know what it's like to want to go back.
The thing is, you can't go back. You can start again and move forward, but you can never go back. Nothing you do will ever replicate your past accomplishments, no matter how hard you try.
The passage of time is an unstoppable force. You can slow it down and hold it off for a little while, but eventually it pushes you over and continues on its march forward. When that happens, the best thing you can do is jump on and enjoy the ride.
I've done okay; I have a wonderful wife, great kids, and am back in school to finish the college degree I have been chasing for 21 years. I'm having to work hard and struggle a little bit right now, but it will get better.
Unfortunately, I am not privy to the money and opportunities that Brett Favre's career has afforded him.
It's time, Brett, to take advantage of some of those opportunities.
Before time moves on too fast for you to grasp them.
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