On his own terms

Brett Favre is destined to top some major NFL records this season. When that happens, and if Favre can play through the 2007 without any major injuries, PackerReport.com's Dylan Tomlinson strongly suggests the future Hall of Fame quarterback end his career.

After the 2007 season, after he breaks Dan Marino's NFL record for most career touchdown passes, I hope Brett Favre is smart enough to walk away from the game.

I'm not saying that I will enjoy it when Favre is no longer under center for the Packers.

Favre has meant so much to the Packers that even though he is nowhere close to being as effective as he was a decade ago, he will still cast a considerable shadow when he finally decides to retire from football.

When that finally happens, it will be a sad day in Green Bay, but I for one would applaud Favre, if he is able to decide on his own when to end his illustrious career. Most quarterbacks, even some of the best the game has ever seen, have not been so lucky. It would be nice, for once, to see a future Hall of Famer quarterback end his career on his terms. There's nothing worse than seeing an injury end the career of one of the best quarterbacks to ever play the game.

Joe Montana's back injuries ended his career prematurely. Concussions ended the careers of Troy Aikman and Steve Young. Even John Elway, who won the Lombardi Trophy and the Super Bowl MVP in his final game, likely would have kept playing if he wasn't facing hip surgery.

What has separated Favre from the other great quarterbacks of his generation has been his durability. He may not ultimately be considered as great as Montana or Elway, but Favre could do something neither was able to do if he is able to decide to walk away from football, rather than be told by a doctor that he is no longer able to play. Favre's record of consecutive starts is far more impressive than the touchdown record that he will eventually own. The touchdown record will eventually be broken, probably by Peyton Manning, but it seems highly unlikely that any quarterback will ever come close to breaking Favre's record of consecutive starts.

In 20 years when people are still talking about Favre, it will be the streak that people will remember the most fondly. The touchdowns, the Super Bowl title, the three MVPs will all be part of the discussion, but Favre will be remembered most for being the most durable man to ever play in the NFL.

That's why there would be nothing worse than to have to see Favre's career end after a devastating hit from a defensive end. Nobody wants to see Favre's career end as he's being carted off the field or when a doctor tells him he can't play anymore.

That's why if Favre can make it through this season with his body intact he would be wise to walk away before he has to limp away.

How sad it would be to see one of the toughest players in the history of the NFL do anything other than walk away. But with every season Favre continues to play that will become tougher and tougher to happen. All it takes is one hit and that won't be able to happen.

Let's hope Favre is able to do it on his terms.

Dylan Tomlinson

Dylan Tomlinson is a frequent contributor to PackerReport.com and Packer Report magazine. E-mail him at dylan1226@gmail.com.

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