At the end of the day, the only thing that's really going to matter is how Brett Favre feels. Not about his ankle but about football.
If he wants to come back, he will. If he doesn't – and this has been the hardest decision for him to make – then it's entirely possible he may walk away, finally and for good.
But with Favre, you never know. Even now, with multiple sources insisting Favre is finished -- and with Minnesota Vikings teammate Visanthe Shiancoe saying Favre had texted several Vikings (although not Shiancoe) to tell them he was retiring -- no one can really be certain.
And that's why the Vikings may not take no for an answer. Vikings coach Brad Childress said he had spoken to Favre in the previous 24 hours but that Favre said nothing about retiring. "I've got to hear it from the horse's mouth," Childress said.
According to media reports, team owner Zygi Wilf, VP of player personnel Rick Spielman and VP of football operations Rick Brzezinski spent the morning practice in a secretive huddle. None of them was willing to speak with reporters afterward.
It's likely that they'll leave the door open for Favre to come back, perhaps even try to sweeten his deal (he is supposed to earn $13 million this season) if he opts to play. And they will no doubt keep calling Hattiesburg, Miss., to see if they can convince Favre, 40, to give it one more shot.
Favre's ankle may say no. But his heart, knowing that he had one of his best seasons ever (a 107.2 quarterback rating, 33 touchdowns and just 7 interceptions), may tug at him once more.
And he may not be able to resist. Maybe he doesn't play in Week 1 or 2 or 3. But maybe he does in Week 4.
"It wouldn't surprise me one way or the other whether he elects to play or whether he elects to retire," Childress said. "I think all of us can live with it either way."
Maybe not. The Vikings were a playoff team in 2009 with Favre at quarterback, advancing to the NFC Championship game. With Tarvaris Jackson under center, it's uncertain if they're even a playoff team.
It's Favre's decision to make. The football world waits.