Favre answers the issues

It's instructive to return to his retirement news conference of four months ago. His answers then hold true today.

On March 6, Brett Favre all but left the podium dehydrated after his tear-filled retirement announcement. Four months later, he allegedly wants to play football again.

What happened during the past 120-or-so days? Well, Favre is in hiding, letting his surrogates do the dirty work. So, for guidance, I reviewed Favre's farewell news conference. Even playing it backward didn't expose some secret plot to torment Packers Nation in July or a hidden desire to play mind games with Aaron Rodgers.

So we are left with Favre, in his own words.

"I think last year and the year before I was tired, and it took awhile but I came back. Something told me this time not to come back. It took awhile once again. Once again, I wondered if it was the right decision. But I think in my situation, and I had this conversation with (coach) Mike (McCarthy) and (general manager) Ted (Thompson), that it's a unique situation in that at 17 years, I had one of the better years in my career, the team had a great year, everything seems to be going great, the team wants me back, I still can play, for the most part everyone would think I would be back, would want me back.

"That's a unique situation going into an 18th season. There's no guarantees next year, personally and as a team, and I'm well aware of that. It's a tough business, and last year and the year before, I questioned whether or not I should come back because I didn't play at a high enough level. Other people questioned that. I really didn't question my commitment. I just wondered, 'Could I not play anymore?' I know I can play.

"But this year, and this is not the first year but it really to me and (wife) Deanna was more noticeable, the stress part of it. It's demanding. It always has been, but I think as I've gotten older, I'm much more aware of that. I'm much more aware of how hard it is to win in this league and to play at a high level.

"I'm not up to the challenge anymore. I can play, but I'm not up to the challenge. You can't just show up and play for three hours on Sunday. If you could, there'd be a lot more people doing it and they'd be doing it for a lot longer. I have way too much pride. I expect a lot out of myself, and if I cannot do those things 100 percent, then I can't play."

I pick those four paragraphs — from the first question, about many fans expecting him to change his mind about retiring — because they hit on the two major notions that are in play today.

Issue No. 1: Favre's mom, of all people, told a Milwaukee TV station the other day that one reason why Favre retired is because Thompson didn't appear to want him back.

Well, right there in his opening answer, Favre said that's not the case. Importantly, Favre wasn't replying to a question about Thompson, so he wasn't giving some politically correct answer. Instead, Favre stepped to the microphone with the intent of clearing the air.

Later, when asked specifically about whether the Packers made him feel wanted, Favre said, "I believe it's the right decision. And there's nothing that they can do or say to change that."

Issue No. 2: The main reason Favre said he was retiring was because of the mental strain. He was tired from a thrill-a-minute but stressful season. Many fans said (and are saying) Favre should have given himself more time to decide before retiring.

True, perhaps, but as a 17-year veteran, Favre knew full well what he was facing this offseason. As he said: "I think last year and the year before I was tired and it took awhile but I came back. Something told me this time not to come back."

Not surprisingly, he allegedly is recharged now. But how far behind is he from a physical standpoint? Would he really be ready to play — and not just play, but at a level high enough to meet his standards? He might be ready for the grind now, but how about in November and December, after he's been throwing all of his mental energy into getting ready for the next game? Games aren't just won or lost on Sundays, after all.

"I just don't think I can give anything else, aside from the three hours on Sundays" Favre said in his opening statement, "and in football, you can't do that."

Bill Huber writes for Packer Report. E-mail him at packwriter2002@yahoo.com

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