SPORTSDOC-AM- Pack it in: Favre can't raise after folding
Bill Parcells never coached Brett Favre, but he passed on some tips anyway. It's obvious that Favre learned Parcells' most important lesson: if you play or coach football, then like Rose on The Golden Girls, you can come back more times than Shirley MacLaine.
The NFL is running low on cufflinks and gold watches. If they have any sense, they'll cease and desist all tributes posthaste. It's not polite to ask someone to return a gift, but what does one do when the wedding is canceled, the boat never leaves, or– for arguments' sake– someone comes out of retirement?
Egg has to get on somebody's face.
The Green Bay Packers have decided it isn't going to be theirs. They aren't going to pander to a wishy-washy retiree, no matter how much he's done for them. The Washington Wizards learned that lesson for them.
The hundreds of fans outside Lambeau Field who spent Sunday crying for Favre's return are horribly misguided, not to mention utterly blind. The man whose return they covet is not the Brett Favre they knew, but they can't see that. His physicality may be as good as it ever was; it's Favre's strategic ability that has taken a hit.
How else can his recent tactical errors be explained? Favre has 16 years experience as an NFL starting quarterback; why isn't he showing better judgment? He's the only three-time Associate Press MVP in NFL history, for crying out loud. He has more pass completions than Carter has liver pills.
When a man spends his career on the offense, being put on the defense can be hard to take. When announcing his retirement, Favre went to great lengths to exonerate the Packers from any culpability. At his March 6 press conference, Favre laid all the blame on himself.
"I've given everything I possibly can give to this organization, to the game of football, and I don't think I have anything left to give, and that's it," he said.
Apparently that's not it.
On July 11, nine days after officially and publicly denying a rumored return to the gridiron, Favre sent a letter to the Packers asking to be unconditionally released from his contract. He wants to play for another team.
Funny, I didn't know one could retire from football while under contract to play football.
You learn something new every day.
Now– at least according to the Chicago Tribune– the Packers are holding Favre "prisoner" by refusing to release him. Play for the Packers or play for no one. Oh, and if Favre plays for the Packers, it will be in a back-up position only.
It's no joke. After accruing the most consecutive starts among NFL quarterbacks, Favre would begin his first game back with his bum firmly situated on the bench. Oh, the humanity.
Favre better come out of retirement instead of spending his post career playing poker like so many high-profile athletes.
Then again, maybe he should have spent March, April, May, and June at the card table. He would have learned a valuable lesson in negotiation: you've can't raise after you've already folded.
Sure, the Green Bay Packers stand a much better chance of a winning season with Favre as their starting quarterback, but they're looking farther ahead. The Packers have drawn a line in the sand. They've issued a warning to Favre and every player who comes after him: they're nobody's patsy.
There are "prisoners" in the NFL, but Favre isn't one of them. For the past 20 years, star players have had management at their mercy. Any whim, any desire, and a team must comply. Favre himself has been accused of holding Packers' management hostage.
Favre was naive enough to give up the ball, and the Packers are right not to give it back. They let him retire on his own terms, but now it's their game.
Even Shirley MacLaine can't trump that.