The real reason Brett’s waffling
Brett Favre was done.
Last week, Favre informed several Vikings he was hanging up his cleats. His mind may have said otherwise, but his body was telling him it was time.
But like so many other times in Favre’s career, his actions veered from his intentions.
After spending a few days in Minnesota, the events of the latest chapter in Favre’s long-running soap opera now appear much clearer. Here is the story, from the inside.
Favre indeed sent text messages to teammates telling them he was forgoing his 20th season, citing his health as the reason. According to sources, while the texts seemed pretty convincing that he had made up his mind, the team wasn’t letting their gunslinger slip off into the sunset without a fight.
In a two-pronged attack, the Vikings organization immediately jumped into action, offering him a much more lucrative package for this season and pleading with him to reconsider his decision. Simultaneously, veteran players immediately implored teammates to bombard Favre with texts or calls, asking him to give them one last shot at the Super Bowl.
As one source explained to me, Favre probably wasn’t prepared for such an outpouring. When he left the Packers there wasn’t much love, if any, from teammates asking him to reconsider. And there certainly wasn’t any from Jets’ players. But with this team, Favre was completely beloved, and for the first time, had an entire locker room figuratively pounding down his door like a husband begging his wife not to file for divorce.
"He’s torn," said another member of the Vikings. "I think in his mind he was done, but loves the guys in this locker room and doesn’t want to let them down. He didn’t want to (come back), but I don’t think he can say no to these guys. He’s tortured."
Not one source on the Vikings believed this was a play for money or a play for more time. Would he take the money they decided to throw his way to come back? Of course, but it’s not the driving force behind why he initially chose to shut it down, only to halt his decision and buy himself more time.
Do I believe Favre will be under center against the Saints opening night of the season? Absolutely. Even when I reported what his intentions were last week, I fully believed he would change his mind over and over again before coming to the rescue.
Initially, I believed this was all part of Favre’s ploy to get teammates to beg him to come back. But I don’t believe this to be the case anymore. After talking with several Vikings, I honestly believe Favre, frustrated with his ankle and listening to his body, sent his message with the intention of letting the guys down easily. I don’t think he was looking for drama this time.
But anything related with Favre automatically comes with its own built-in circus. That circus was made even more bizarre when Favre denied what some of his teammates had already confirmed — that he had sent messages saying he was done.
Instead of denying he had informed teammates he wasn’t coming back, Favre should have openly stated he is struggling with letting down a locker room full of guys who emphatically asked him to reconsider. Public sentiment surely would have granted him more patience and sympathy had he honestly admitted that he intended to retire, but the team’s reaction had gotten him to relent. There is great honor in this, even if Favre is unable to make it back for a 20th season because of injuries.
Some on the team still believe he’s going to listen to his body. One source said he wouldn’t be surprised if Favre was going to see Dr. James Andrews, almost hoping to come up with proof that his ankle was not good to go. At least, in this case, he would feel somebody else made the decision for him. While others still believe that Favre was simply frustrated by how his ankle and body were feeling and in a few weeks he would recover enough to come back.
In the end, will Favre play? Absolutely, unless his ankle will put him in harm’s way this year. Do I feel Favre felt he was done last week? No doubt, more so now that I’ve seen and heard the evidence.
But I also believe he was taken aback by the outpouring of support and love he was shown from his troops. How can he say no to that . . . and $20 million?