- The Washington Times - Friday, July 11, 2008

Brett Favre has the itch to play again, just as Michael Jordan once did, the drama unbecoming in each case.

The Packers have been as lukewarm to Favre as the Bulls once were to Jordan, although each franchise stopped short of telling its icon not to let the door hit his backside on the way out.

So now the Packers are stuck between the thinly disguised desires of Favre and the prospect of a new beginning, however overrated new beginnings are following the retirement of an athlete who defined a franchise.

The Packers could ask Jerry Krause how it went for the Bulls after Jordan left the franchise.

Like it or not, the Packers have made the psychological break from Favre, last seen throwing the Giants into the Super Bowl.

His was a rude exit but one he chose in teary-eyed fashion after a Pro Bowl season.

It seemed heartfelt, genuine, the end. And it was - in March.

Four months later, with plenty of time to heal mentally and physically, Favre has re-examined his retirement.

It could be prompted by ego, an addiction to attention or the realization that he is going to miss the competition more than he originally thought.

It was inevitable, considering Favre’s waffling with retirement in recent years.

If he is not wanted in Green Bay - and that is the delicate challenge before the brain trust of the Packers - he undoubtedly will find suitors elsewhere.

Let’s play fantasy football. For the 2008 season, you get to choose any quarterback in the NFL to lead your team. Tom Brady or Peyton Manning and then who? Favre just might be the next pick.

It may not seem appropriate, the prospect of Favre awash in uniform colors other than green and gold.

But Jordan wound up with the Wizards, Babe Ruth with the Boston Braves and Johnny Unitas with the Chargers, and no one thinks less of them because of it.

Favre could do everyone but the gabbers on ESPN a favor and stay put in Mississippi.

ESPN would have no choice then but to send a television truck to Favre’s home and report on his daily activities: Favre mows lawn. Favre attends PTA meeting. Favre goes hunting. Favre shares a fountain soda with Madonna. It just might add to the ESPN brand, with ESPNFAVRE.

It is said that Favre is conducting his business by text message, a means of communication you would not typically associate with the good old boy who models Wrangler jeans.

Perhaps Favre is LOL funny in his text messages.

It certainly is a hoot that Packers general manager Ted Thompson does not plan to address the Favre situation until he returns from vacation.

That does not sound like a person who is enthralled with the prospect of Favre’s return.

Or maybe Thompson is having so much fun on vacation that he does not want to spoil it with boring football matters. Or maybe he knows something about the capabilities of quarterback Aaron Rodgers that has eluded the rest of the NFL.

His future employment with the Packers depends on it.

For now, the wishy-washy actions of Favre and Thompson are fueling the speculation.

One issues non-denial denials about coming out of retirement, while the other does not want to be interrupted on vacation.

You say the NFL’s all-time leader in passing yards and touchdowns is on the telephone? Tell him I’m snorkeling.

It could become more uncomfortable for both parties.

Worst-case scenario for Thompson and the Cheeseheads: Favre leads another team into the playoffs, and the Packers stumble, with Rodgers throwing more interceptions than touchdowns.

As soap opera-like as Favre’s itch has become, it is hardly one for the ages.

Sugar Ray Leonard came out of retirement so many times that boxing supporters eventually lost count.

And before Jordan took up with the Wizards, he was a weak-hitting outfielder with the Birmingham Barons.

As far as anyone knows, Favre has not expressed an interest in signing with a team in the Brewers’ farm system.



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