Return or retire?

Five reasons why Favre should, shouldn't return to football

We all have our thoughts on whether Brett Favre will return to the Green Bay Packers in 2006, but instead of writing something like some other media outlets, stating Favre has a 70 percent chance of returning or something like that, let's be truthful first.

It's 50-50. Either he returns or he doesn't. He has two choices, that's it. Beyond that, nobody outside the Favre camp knows. It's just speculation.

With that in mind, it's time to look at reasons why Favre should return and reasons why he shouldn't:

5 Reasons Favre should return:
1. 400 touchdowns. Favre has 396 touchdown passes, and only Dan Marino has passed for 400 in a career, tossing 420. Favre says he's not a stat man, but 400 TD passes has to mean something. And, if Favre has a better than average season, he could pass (pun intended) Marino on the for No. 1 on the all-time list.

2. Going out on a high note. "Seinfeld" fans will remember the episode when "George Costanza" would leave rooms after making a clever comment, wanting to go out with people wanting more. Favre is no Costanza, thank God, but can Favre let 2005 be his last season? If he retires he will always think, "I wonder if I should've come back, so I could leave on a higher note?" Throwing 29 interceptions for a 4-12 team, Favre has the pride to come back, you would think.

3. Rossley's gone. Although former coach Mike Sherman called plays, former offensive coordinator Tom Rossley's imagination in drawing up game plans, and calling plays earlier in Sherman's tenure, fell short of a 1-year-old. I should know, my son is 1. New coach Mike McCarthy and Jeff Jagodzinski should have more imagination on offense, leading Favre to a better 2006. Can anything be worse than 2005?

4. Physical tools are there. Favre still can throw passes that make you say, "Nobody else in the NFL could have completed that pass." Also, after hiring a personal trainer for this past season, Favre still is in shape. He's mobile, has a good arm and, as we all know, he hasn't suffered a serious injury.

5. The NFC North. Yes, the Bears were 11-5, but the playoffs showed us they are nothing special. With the rest of the division going through coaching changes, winning the NFC North isn't as much of a reach as some would think. If the Packers stay healthy, and get a few breaks like all division champs get, who knows? Plus, in 2003, San Diego was 4-12. The following year, San Diego was 12-4. Turnarounds happen when you least expect them.

5 reasons Favre should retire:
1. Decision making. At some point, every player shows a decrease in performance, and the decisions Favre made in 2005 were sometimes brutal. A player with his resume should not have made some of the decisions he made. With that in mind, it shows Favre's performance level is at a point where he should leave before something worse happens.

2. New coach. Nothing against McCarthy, but his offense – even if it has some similarities to Sherman's – will be different from the one Favre has played under forever. Does a quarterback going on 37 want to learn a new system for one season? Only if the Super Bowl is realistic, and for the Packers it isn't.

3. He's healthy. Ever see John Elway walk? He walks like he just ran a marathon without training. He struggles to walk, he limps, he looks uncomfortable. Favre has no problem "picking up his puppies," and any NFL player, outside of a kicker or punter, who can leave walking fairly normal would be wise to get out before they leave on crutches. 4. Place in history cemented. No matter what happens in 2006, Favre's legacy is locked and loaded for the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Personally, what is there for Favre to do? Nothing. He wants to win, and what are the Packers' chances of being better than .500 next season? About as likely as Mike Vanderjagt missing a 46-yard field goal in a dome by 20 yards, right?

5. Family. Favre has endured more than his share of heartbreak over the last couple years, ranging from his father's death to his wife's breast cancer. Certainly, Favre knows how fragile life is, so who could blame him if he wants to hang it up and spend time with his family?

Doug Ritchay

Editor's note: Doug Ritchay is a longtime sportswriter and former Packers beat writer for the Green Bay News-Chronicle. E-mail at

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