Favre retirement talk returns

They say silence is golden, and when it comes to Brett Favre retirement talk, that certainly is the truth. Well, the silence has been broken, and the sports-radio yakkers will be in full-boil mode today. Be afraid. Be very afraid.

During the Daytona 500, new Pro Football Hall of Famer Troy Aikman — at Daytona for the debut of the Hall of Fame Racing team he formed with Roger Staubach — was corralled by an Associated Press sports writer.

Asked his thoughts on Favre's future, Aikman — now a commentator for Fox Sports — said he thought the Packers' decline would send Favre into retirement.

"I'd hate to see him retire," Aikman said. "But I know that going out and having seasons like what he went through this past year is really frustrating and it just isn't much fun. So I don't know what he's going to do. I think the fact that he is having a hard time making the decision, in some ways, to me, that kind of has made the decision for him."

Now, Aikman's insights aren't something to be totally dismissed. Aikman says he's among a handful of retired, former standout quarterbacks Favre has sought advice from. Aikman, a three-time Super Bowl champion with Dallas, retired in part because the Cowboys went from contender to pretender.

That certainly is Favre's position. Another factor in Aikman's retirement was a chronic problem with concussions. That certainly isn't the case for Favre, who hasn't suffered a major injury in his career.

"Health was a small factor in my decision," Aikman said. "But it had more to do with, I just didn't think that we were doing what was necessary to be competitive any longer. And I know that Brett is dealing with that currently."

All of this will lead to a couple mind-numbing days of talk centered on Favre's future. In Green Bay, for instance, the afternoon sports-talk host, who doubles as the newspaper's sports columnist and 24-hours-a-day Favre defender, will trot out his tired opinion that the Packers aren't doing enough, from a personnel standpoint, to entice Favre to return.

It's all enough to give even the most diehard of Packers fans a headache.

Even my late-fiftysomething mom, who frittered away untold hundreds of dollars to buy the entire series of Favre collector plates, gave me a resounding "who cares!?" when I alerted her of Aikman's opinions.

Listen, I, like almost everyone else, want Favre to play at least one more season. But this yearly off-season saga is getting really old.

I don't blame Favre. He's just answering the questions.

The blame goes to my fellow reporters — generally the ones who don't cover Favre on a regular basis — who refuse to let the issue rest.

Is it interesting to read Aikman's comments? Is it interesting to watch "Fear Factor"? The answer to both questions is yes, but there isn't a bit of substance to either of them. You and I have just as good an idea of what Favre will do as does Aikman. They may be two of the greatest quarterbacks in league history, but it's not like Favre and Aikman are close confidants.

For that matter, don't read too much in Favre's comments, either. Favre's famous for answering a single question about retirement and then tackling all sides of his self-debate for the next five minutes.

Remember Favre's comments on ESPN, when he said he was leaning toward retirement and added, "I never thought mentally I would give out before I would physically."?

Well, Favre's interview was conducted about three weeks after the season. As someone who played into college, I think most players think as Favre did. I think all players question why they work so hard, why they push themselves so hard, especially when the goal — winning a championship — is especially distant. But, when it's time to start prepping for the next season, the juices start to flow and the love for the game returns.

Will Favre play in 2006? Who knows? Nobody knows, and that might even include Favre.

For now, turn off the sports-talk radio and ignore everyone who thinks he knows which way Favre is leaning. When Favre makes his decision, he'll tell us.

Lawrence is a regular contributor to PackerReport.com. Send comments to steve_lawrence_packers@yahoo.com.


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