Next time, Favre will announce retirement

QB won't want to endure another long season of losing, not even for money and history

Brett Favre says he is not going to come back for money or records. Then why would he come back? He's not happy with the direction of the team, he's not going to win, and he's not going to have fun.

Favre is going to retire. Soon. This week, perhaps. No, the undecided quarterback hasn't suddenly made a decision. All you have to do is listen to/read what he's said, and it's clear Favre is trading the Frozen Tundra of Lambeau Field for his lush Mississippi lawn.

Favre time and again has said he isn't in this for the money and he's not aiming at Dan Marino's league passing standards.

Let's take Favre's word as gospel on at least the first point. Favre's lifestyle doesn't require him to earn another $10 million in 2006. As for the records, well, he's a mere 24 touchdown passes away from tying Marino's standard of 420. On the other side, with 255 interceptions, he's 22 shy of George Blanda's mark. The first mark would be attractive, but would he reach it before hitting the latter?

So, if he's not in it for the money and he's not in it for the records, he must be in it to win.

And there's the biggest problem.

Favre's no fool. He knows what general manager Ted Thompson has and hasn't done this off-season. He knows the Packers are doomed to another long season.

"I don't know if on paper we're better or not. As I sit here before you, I'd like to say I think we are better, but I don't know if we are," Favre said at Saturday's "news" conference from his charity golf tournament.

Beyond just adding some pieces here and there, Favre wants the Packers to make a big splash. He wants the Packers to make a franchise-turning signing, and he realizes that's not Thompson's style.

"I know when we signed Reggie White, we knew we were going to be better right away," Favre said. "I think that's what we have to do. We have to make a statement again. You have to stay up with the NFL. Teams are making statements."

So if Favre's not playing for money and records, and he knows winning is out of the question, then Favre would be playing for fun. The love of the game. But too often last season, Favre looked like he was undergoing a root canal. The losing and the injuries and the interceptions seemingly took all the joy out of the game.

Of course, that team was predicted to win. This team is predicted to lose, so perhaps Favre is trying to come to grips with that so he can go out and have fun, win or lose.

"I guess, ultimately, it comes down to just whether or not you want to play and run the risk of being 4-12. There's always that risk. ... That's something I have to live with, if I'm willing to go through that again.

Then there's the not-so-small matter of his confidence. Or lack of it. Earlier this off-season, Favre questioned whether he was prepared to take the ball with the game on the line. About 2 1/2 months later, he seems no more confident he can get the job done in crunch time.

You can't blame him. Of the Packers' 12 losses last season, eight were by a touchdown or less. That's eight chances for a fourth-quarter comeback that failed.

"I had a lot of chances to pull us out of the fire last year and I didn't do it," he noted.

So Favre's not in it for money or records. Winning is out of the question, and if he's not winning, chances are he's not going to have fun. His confidence is shaky.

All that leaves is the one thing athletes miss most: the locker-room camaraderie. But Favre doesn't have many close friends on the team. At 36, he's a decade older than most of the team. Frank Winters, Mark Chmura, Doug Pederson, Ryan Longwell, Mike Flanagan: They are all gone. The only players left from the Super Bowl teams are Favre and William Henderson. Even the coaching staff is new. Plus, his stance on the Javon Walker contract fiasco of a year ago alienated himself from many of his teammates.

So what reason does Favre have to come back? If it's not for money or records, and he's not going to win, have fun or enjoy his teammates in the locker room, there's only one reason left for Favre to come back. That's because he's addicted to the game. But if that were the case, he would have announced his comeback long ago.

If Favre wanted to announced he'd play one more season, he would have done it Saturday in Mississippi. That means the next time we hear from Favre, he'll be saying good-bye.

Lawrence is a regular contributor to Send comments to

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