No deadline for Favre, and that's too bad

"The Packers have requested a decision from Brett Favre by Saturday on whether he will return next season," reports ESPN.com. Not true, though it's too bad it's not.

No such deadline has been given, Packers coach Mike McCarthy says. The confusion came when the date of Favre's roster bonus was pushed back to April 1. That's Saturday. It's an artificial deadline, however, since the money won't be paid unless Favre is on the regular-season roster.

This Favre thing, however, has gone on long enough. Unless this is some sort of top-secret plan between the Packers and Favre to improve the team's leverage on draft day, Favre has left the Packers dangling for far too long.

Yes, Favre deserves some leeway because he's Favre. He's meant everything to the franchise. Without him, there almost certainly wouldn't be two conference championships in the 1990s and a Super Bowl victory. Beyond that, there probably wouldn't be a renovated Lambeau Field. Instead of ranking 10th in the 32-team NFL in revenue, the Packers probably would rank among the bottom one-third of the league.

With all of that said, Favre has taken the inches of slack and gone for miles. Unless last season was a mirage because of the onslaught of injuries, Favre no longer is an elite quarterback. No player is bigger than his team, but with his career winding down, that's especially true for Favre.

In a way, I can't blame Favre for waffling on the topic of retirement. When my dad had finally qualified for Social Security, he couldn't decide whether he wanted to retire or keep working his 9-to-5 gig. Trust me, his job wasn't anywhere as close to as glamorous as being an NFL quarterback. If a 62-year-old can't decide when to retire from a factory job, how is a 36-year-old man supposed to choose between retiring and being idolized by most of the state?

With that said, Favre owes the Packers at least the courtesy of letting them know his future. While my dad's decision hardly held up the future of the factory, Favre is certainly doing that with the Packers.

Who would you rather have at quarterback: Aaron Rodgers or Drew Brees? Well, had the Packers known Favre was going to retire, they could have gone after Brees. Instead, if Favre leaves now, the starting job goes to Rodgers by default, practically. At this late stage of free agency, it's not as if there are any quality veteran quarterbacks available. And no, Kerry Collins amd Joey Harrington don't count. Heck, Jon Kitna and Aaron Brooks aren't even on the market.

The Packers are in a precarious position. General manager Ted Thompson surely would love to know Favre's decision. Two months ago, preferably. But what's Thompson supposed to do? He can't put a deadline on Favre, for fear Favre would say stick it. If you thought the fans were mad at Thompson for the way he's sat on his wallet during free agency, just imagine the furor he'd create by being the guy who drove Favre into retirement.

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


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