It would have been easy for Majkowski to be like others and say that Favre will return. It's exactly what the fans want to hear. For the most part, that's what they heard all weekend from players – past and current – and coaches.
Majkowski, however, when interviewed on the center stage Saturday afternoon, was very candid in explaining why he feels Favre will decide to retire from football. Coming from an ex-quarterback, and one who speaks frequently with Favre, it's a glaring indication that Favre won't be back.
Majkowski said he has seen some red flags that are signaling the end of Favre's stellar career, and one popped up last year about this time.
"Competitive spirit has to come within yourself," Majkowski said. "As a professional athlete, you have to have that internal motivation in order to continue and prosper as an athlete. Once you lose a little bit of that fire in your belly, it becomes a little more difficult. Brett has told me personally that last year was difficult to work out in the off-season, get motivated in the off-season, so he hired a personal trainer. That's a warning sign right there that you're losing a little bit of that edge."
Favre returned to the Packers, but he threw a career-high 29 interceptions and Green Bay finished with a 4-12 record, the team's first sub-.500 season since 1991. Favre played behind a line that lost two Pro Bowl-caliber guards in free agency. Three skills positions were decimated by injuries, which didn't make it any easier on the quarterback.
Majkowski said that with the uncertainty at many positions this off-season, don't expect the Packers to be contending for a Super Bowl berth in 2006 after finishing last in their division in 2005. "It's going to be hard," Majkowski said. "There have been teams, like the Carolina Panthers a few years ago, but it's rare."
With a new coaching staff and roster that is one of the youngest in the NFL, Green Bay will not be considered a Super Bowl contender when the season opens in September. For that reason, according to Majkowski, Favre may also be hesitant to return to Green Bay.
"I talk to him quite often and I think it's going to be difficult for him to have a realistic approach and say, ‘Do we really have a shot at winning the Super Bowl next year if I come back?'" Majkowski said. "I don't know if he feels that way, as a lot of us do. He deserves a break. He has played 14 years without missing a game. He's had a great career. He has nothing else to prove. Personally, I think he's had enough. Physically, he could go a year or two because he's still capable of playing, but I think everything he's been through emotionally … it's just time."
When asked if he would like to see Favre return to play football, Majkowski could have easily drawn the applause and cheers from the crowd by saying "yes," but he refrained.
"I think it would be a good time for him to retire," Majkowski said, drawing a few boos. "I know people don't want to hear me say that, but knowing what athletes go through, as soon as you start raising any kind of questions about yourself about being internally motivated, it's time to go. When I was at the peak of my career and when Brett was at the peak of his career, you couldn't wait to wake up every day and go to the gym and work out, or go to the office and watch film. You're so excited about doing your job. I don't think he has that same desire and enthusiasm as he did when he was in his prime, and deservedly so. He's had a long career without missing a game and he's been through a heck of a lot off the field, obviously. But if anybody can do it this guy can. We all know what a competitor he is and if he decides to come back for another year, there's no question that he physically can still play."
Packers coach Mike McCarthy said this weekend that Favre will "soon" decide on what he plans to do for next season. After listening to Majkowski, however, Favre appears to be at peace with walking away from football.
Todd Korth is managing editor of PackerReport.com and Packer Report. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.