Time to decide, Brett

Quarterback has had more than enough time to make up his mind

The Green Bay Packers are expecting a decision from Brett Favre regarding his return anytime now. It has been speculated by some that Favre has already informed the Packers he is returning for the 2006 season. If that's the case, neither Favre nor the Packers have made the news official. In fact, coach Mike McCarthy is sounding like he wants a decision quickly.

"I thought soon was soon," McCarthy told the Wisconsin State Journal on Sunday. "And (now) it needs to be real soon."

The Packers have been very active retaining a lot of their unrestricted free agents. Favre will basically have his backfield stay intact with the retention of running backs Ahman Green and Najeh Davenport, plus fullback William Henderson. That has to be a plus for Favre wanting to return. In addition, the team has also re-signed offensive lineman Kevin Barry and wide receiver Rod Gardner. The Packers also re-signed defensive end Aaron Kampman plus defensive linemen Colin Cole, Cullen Jenkins and Kenny Peterson. It should be a positive sign to Favre that so many of his teammates believe in the Packer organization, Javon Walker notwithstanding.

Favre has also lost some teammates and friends, Ryan Longwell, Craig Nall, Mike Flanagan and Tony Fisher to free agency. Favre's best friend on the team was Nall. Longwell was a golfing buddy, and Flanagan was his center the past five seasons. Those losses have to be tough on Favre. But he has been down this path.

After 14 years with one organization, teammates will come and go, and some will be close friends. Friends like Frank Winters, Reggie White, Mark Chmura, LeRoy Butler and Doug Pederson. Teammates like Sterling Sharpe, Robert Brooks, Dorsey Levens and Antonio Freeman. This is life in the NFL. But this is the profession that Favre has chosen, and has excelled.

The Packers have buffered their free agent losses by signing safety Marquand Manuel, defensive tackle Ryan Pickett, linebacker Ben Taylor, wide receiver Marc Boerigter and kicker Billy Cundiff. More help is hopefully coming as the Packers are expected to bring in defensive back Charles Woodson and linebacker Barrett Green this week. The Packers haven't made a huge splash in free agency, but they have been active and still have plenty of cap room to make positive additions to the team. Plus, the Packers are in excellent position to get some very good talent in the draft.

I have steadfastly had faith that Favre will return to the Packers in 2006. I still firmly believe he will, but the team and the fans need to hear it from him. Officially. Real soon. The Packers have some good momentum going now with so many current Packers returning and some key free agents joining the squad. There will be more to be sure, but no news would be any bigger than the official word that Favre is indeed coming back. Every ship has its skipper. The good ship Packer has been waiting patiently for Captain Favre to report back for duty. It's time Brett. Like the Enterprise and James Kirk, the Packers and Favre are linked. And the adventures aren't over yet. Favre's teammates believe it. It's time for Favre to join them, and lead them.

Bob Fox is a longtime Packers fan and frequent contributor to PackerReport.com. E-mail him at greenbaybob@hotmail.com.

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