Believe it: Favre might call Packers' bluff

The quarterback never has backed down from adversity, so don't be surprised if he shows up for training camp.

It's a staple of "The Factor."

Fox News political pundit, Bill O'Reilly often holds a segment on his show that digs beneath the clichéd vernacular of politicians. O'Reilly welcomes a body language expert to analyze the facial expressions of politicians. The frame-by-frame breakdown sifts through the lingo to interpret the meaning behind what individuals say and what's going on in their head.

Worried? Confident? Secure? Edgy? Body language expert Tonya Reiman breaks it down to a science.  

Boy, would Reiman have a field day with Brett Favre's two-day, tell-all with Greta Van Susteren on Fox News.

You could see it in his expression — that "Aw, shucks" Mississippi charm/swagger/ego/smirk. The eyebrows rise, the lips curl upward and it's topped off with an ever-so-slight tip of the head backward. Yes, it was brief. But it said plenty.

He's serious. He's not intimidated. He's thinking about calling a bluff of his own.

During Part 2 of Favre's interview with "On the Record with Greta Van Susteren," the quarterback said he's tempted to show up at the Packers' training camp and test the team's notion he would have to back up Aaron Rodgers if he returns.

Would the Green Bay Packers realistically bench a three-time MVP who took them within an overtime of the Super Bowl the year prior and has started an NFL-record 275 consecutive games in favor of someone who has looked sharp in offseason workouts but never has started a game? Just how deep is Thompson's commitment to Rodgers — a sentiment thumped continually by the masses?

The signature expression kicks in. Favre knows he's knee-deep in PR cow manure and there's no reason to stop now. Player-management skirmishes aren't uncommon in the NFL. Favre may just give Thompson a vicious yank in this game of tug ‘o war.

Call it the Itch Two.

"It's tempting just to, as everyone said, you know, call their bluff or whatever," said Favre on Part 2 of the interview, which aired Tuesday. "I think it's going to be a circus in itself already, whether I go there, whatever."

Frequently throughout the interview, Favre suggested he isn't afraid of Thompson — almost as if to say the traditional GM-to-coach-to-player chain of command doesn't exist to him. Nor would it bother him to strap on a Packers uniform again. Awkwardness? Phew.

"And I like my teammates," Favre continued. "I had a lot of fun with them. I have talked to numerous guys."

Believe him. Favre never has been one to turtle out of a jam. He's not the type to recede quietly into political correctness in the midst of controversy or hardships. Favre wears his emotions like flamboyant tattoos for everyone to see — it's why he's one of the most beloved figures in sports. Even though it's more like beliked or behated these days.

When Favre's addiction to pain killers became public more than a decade ago, he didn't hide behind a press release and wait for the embarrassment to fade away. He declared 1996 a "Super Bowl or bust" season for the Packers.

Everybody and their grandma remembers Favre's "Monday Night Football" masterpiece against Oakland after his father died. He didn't hide the anguish of that game. Instead, everyone knew the truth, and he had one of his best games.

All the injured thumbs, elbows, ankles, knees that he played through.

All the double-, check that, triple-covered clusters he chucked passes into.

The interference in Javon Walker's contract dispute.

It shouldn't be a surprise if Favre dons green and gold on July 28 for the start of training camp. That's his style.

Favre did affirm he doesn't want to return to the Packers "just to stick it to them."

But think about it. Which scenario strikes the least amount of fear in Favre as he mulls this monumental decision worth every second of airtime (context, folks, context)…

— Is it the fear of getting banished to a putrid team light-years away from the playoffs via trade?  

— The fear of slipping back into retirement while knowing he left two or three great seasons on the table?

— Or is it the fear of holding a clipboard for Rodgers?

Here's thinking Door No. 3 doesn't scare Favre the least bit.

Door No. 1 practically guarantees a pile of losses. If Green Bay trades Favre, it'll most likely be to a bottom-feeder in the AFC (think Miami), where New England, Indianapolis and San Diego roam. The fear of the unknown is scary for Favre. The grass isn't always greener on the other side. And trading Favre may be an impossible PR nightmare for Thompson to turn into reality.

Door No. 2 probably terrifies Favre. Sure, he said that he could easily stay retired, but Favre also said (as he did during his retirement press conference) that he played the game with no regrets. The boneheaded interceptions. The gut-wrenching losses. No regrets. But leaving the game of football with some gas in the tank could be a regret Favre never forgives himself for.

He ignited this two-week chaos for a reason. If a trade dissolves, then there is a real possibility Favre is at 1265 Lombardi Ave. on July 28 and he dares the organization to bench its greatest player ever.

Tyler Dunne is a regular contributor to PackerReport.com and Packer Report magazine. E-mail him at tydunne07@yahoo.com.


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