No. 4 isn't eager to see what his former boss has to say, but he slowly opens the envelope and pulls out the letter.
I hope this letter finds you, Deanna and the kids in good health and enjoying the summer.
I'm sure you know why I'm writing, so let me cut to the chase.
I hope you realize the position you've put me into, with word that you want to play for us this season. I'm sure no general manager in sports history has ever been put in such a delicate situation.
If you think I pushed you to retire by not showing you enough love, I assure you that wasn't the case. As I've said, it's not my job to help a grown man make a decision. and it's not my business to talk somebody out of a decision, especially one that seemed so sincere to us and your fans.
But this isn't about me. This is about the Green Bay Packers, an organization that has rewarded you beyond your wildest dreams and stood behind you through your painkiller addiction and your annual internal struggle about your career.
When you retired in March, we had to move on. We didn't have the luxury of waiting a few months to see if you'd change your mind. Obviously, we've been grooming Aaron Rodgers for this day. In April, we drafted two more quarterbacks to provide depth. Then, in the last couple months, the coaches have been revising the offense to suit Aaron's strengths.
We've come a long way since March. To be perfectly honest with you, Brett, we've come so far in terms of personnel, scheme and the players' acceptance that you're not here anymore, that it's not possible to turn back.
I know you can still play — and probably play better than Aaron — but if you come back, Aaron probably is going to have to go. And even if he backs you up again this season, I'm sure there's no way he'll re-sign with us when his contract expires after 2009. If you were in his shoes, would you re-sign after busting your butt to be the starter, only to have the job yanked away at the last minute?
I know the deep affection you feel for this franchise. Without either you or Aaron at quarterback in 2009 or 2010, we'd be lucky to be an average team, even with all of the young talent we've assembled. I'm not going to mince words with you on this: Do you want to be responsible for that? Do you want the fans blaming you for their team's fall?
We've moved on Brett, but I also don't want to see you playing for another team. Not me. Not Coach McCarthy. Certainly not the fans. It wouldn't be right. And I'm sure you understand that.
Remember back in 2003, when you were getting ready to take on Arizona, and the Cardinals had Emmitt Smith as their running back? You were talking about how strange it was to see a legendary Cowboy playing for another team, and you said, "I know this: I won't go and play somewhere else. It ain't worth it to me to start over, to try to start another career for a year or two. I don't want to do that. Too much has happened here. Emmitt Smith is a Cowboy to me and he's always going to be. That won't happen with me."
Don't let it happen. I know you want to play. I know you can still play. But sometimes, it's better to leave too early than too late.
Please, Brett, for the good of the franchise and your legacy, I hope you consider remaining retired.
Bill Huber writes for Packer Report. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org