Sydney Speaks! The last gladiator

Brett Favre is surrounded by a young offense this season, and holding the gunslinger back in order to let others grow around him just doesn't seem right, says's Harry Sydney.

Take a minute to sit back, embrace the moment and understand that this year might be the last for Brett Favre and, if it is, I'm OK with it. I know that some of you might think that I have been hard on him, but you have been wrong. I have so much respect for him because in this day and age of athletes being about the money and playing not to get hurt, Favre has withstood the test of time and has never changed. He has always been the same guy that was my teammate in 1992.

Don't get me wrong I still think he could have handled all of his retirement talk over the last three years much better. He might tell you that behind closed doors. But the fact remains that he has never changed and we need to thank our lucky stars that we have gotten to witness his growth as a man and a football player. Unfortunately, I feel his pain as all good things must come to an end. If you listened to his press conference on Tuesday, I think he finally admitted that times have changed and he's not sure if he can change with the times. Let me explain:

Mike McCarthy is an offensive-minded coach, but doesn't have the weapons to take chances in a game. For a gunslinger like Brett Favre, he must feel like a fish out of water. He must feel like he's playing with handcuffs on because he knows in order for this team to win this year he will have to play safe and take no chances on offense.

This team that Ted Thompson has assembled is based on the defense winning the games and the offense not losing them. Everything Ted Thompson has done has been to build a solid foundation on defense by drafting guys like A.J. Hawk, Justin Harrell, or signing players such as Frank Walker, Ryan Pickett, Marquand Manuel, and giving big contracts to Charles Woodson, Cullen Jenkins and Aaron Kampman.

As much as I wanted Ted Thompson to get some offensive weapons, his philosophy must be that defense wins championships, but what he doesn't realize is that the best defense is a great to good offense. During the 49ers' Super Bowl years when I was them, and the Packers of the mid-1990s, the offenses on each team were pretty good. I bet fans in Chicago wish they had some offense last year because you can't count on defenses to score points. It's all about the scoreboard. This is why I feel for Brett.

Understand what I'm saying: I feel for him but I don't feel sorry for him because he's very smart and understands the game. He knew that when he decided to stick around that these days were coming, and did I mention that he's being paid very well.

Mike McCarthy might be asking Brett to do too much, however. He is asking Brett to play safe, look for the checkdown and move the chains. I know that sounds very simple and for most people that haven't had any success it would be all right, but I think Brett Favre is being set up for failure.

Think about it, this guy will set the touchdown passing record, which will make him immortal and now because he has no other proven offensive weapons, aside from Donald Driver, he has to play it safe and try to help all these young players get better just in time for him to walk off into the sunset. Talk about trying to teach an old dog new tricks, but the biggest trick of all might be for Brett to not show any signs of frustration if the season goes the way many, including myself, think it will go.

As you think about it what Mike McCarthy and Ted Thompson just might want from their quarterback this year is what Aaron Rodgers brings to the table. Brett Favre is a warrior and he has stood the test of time. I remember in 1992 when we played together and we would share stories of my days at San Francisco and his days at Atlanta. We both understood the journey we were taking. I was ending my career as a player and he was just starting his. We all have been very lucky to watch, not just one of the greatest quarterbacks to play the game, but one of the greatest players to ever put on the uniform.

I know I should be talking about the preseason game against the Seahawks, but before things get crazy I wanted to write about Brett and give him the respect he deserves because he is THE LAST GLADIATOR!!!!!!!!!

Harry Sydney

Harry Sydney is a former fullback and assistant coach for the Green Bay Packers. E-mail him at

Packer Report Top Stories