Did you notice what he said? It wasn't that he didn't want to play, it was that he couldn't, and I really respect a man that doesn't want to cheapen the game he loves and gave his everything for. Greatness knows every ingredient necessary to achieve excellence and I saw Brett Favre, not the football player, but the man arrive at a place where many don't get a chance to journey. And this is what I mean:
I saw Brett Favre touch every life off the field. Not just a Green Bay Packer fan, but the life of the policeman, cook, school teacher, garbage man, truck driver, waiter, athlete, boy, man, women or child because everyone of us will have to stare that moment in the face, or have already. You know that moment in time when you have to look yourself in the mirror and realize it's time.
I saw a man open his heart and allow us the fans to relive that walk with him as he thanked everyone that had something to do with him being him. Then at the same time stop thanking people because he didn't want to hurt someone by not mentioning their name. He thanked the fans for allowing him to be part of their world because he felt he owed it to each and everyone one of us to give it everything he had at all times.
I think about how for two of my sons - one is 18 and my stepson is 17 - in their lifetime they know no other. The only starting quarterback for the Green Bay Packers their eyes have ever seen has been No. 4 and just think about how blessed they and we all have been. We all got to see him grow right in front of our eyes. Think about it, we really saw the beginning because while at Atlanta he was a rebel with a gun, so Ron Wolf and Mike Holmgren really unveiled him right here in the Frozen Tundra. Brett was a kid with talent that had no clue, but then did any of us ever think it would be 2008 before someone else would be under the center? Think about how lucky we were. We saw the beginning, middle and end. He was all ours. Just think about that!!!!
Again, just how spoiled were we, but then again at his conference I think he showed that he loved the fans just as much the fans loved him. He grew with us and we grew with him through everything because he couldn't hide, because he was the Packers trump card. What I mean by that is whenever a fan of another team wanted to talk about how great their player is or was, the Packer fan could always say well we got Brett Favre and the discussion would end.
I also saw a man scared to death because he knows that come next football season he will have that itch and he also knows he can't scratch it. Trust me, I'm not Brett Favre and neither is anyone else, but some of you understand what he is going through. I know I do. Think about it this way:
Brett Favre has never quit anything in his life and even though he retired in his mind he might just think he quit and gave up. I know I did. I felt that way until I realized I didn't quit, I just moved on to another chapter in my life. It took me about 12 months before I believed what I was saying but once I did I became at peace with myself and so will he.
I also saw a man decide it wasn't about him anymore. I saw a man appreciate his wife for putting her life on hold and doing everything to allow him to be one of the best quarterbacks I will see in my lifetime. I also saw a man understand that his daughters really need a full-time dad and now he will have that opportunity to be exactly that. Then you have Deanna that has battled so much and sacrificed and dealt with so much she must be just thrilled to have her partner with her full-time instead of having to share him with the football world.
I also saw a man so humble as he acknowledged that he never thought he could do it himself it was just that he was in the position that forced him to be the focus of everyone's attention. He knew his greatness was only obtained because of the blood, sweat and tears of his teammates and coaches and himself.
I myself like all of you will miss him. His records will never be touched, and his competitive spirit won't be duplicated. He truly was one of a kind and because of that I'm just not sure HOW DO WE JUST SAY THANK YOU because I feel that's not enough. You deserve more!!!!!
Harry Sydney is a former fullback and assistant coach for the Green Bay Packers. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.