Lurtsema's Reaction: Retirement talk

Both Pat Williams and Brett Favre are thinking about retirement. What does former Viking Bob Lurtsema think will happen with each of them? Plus, Lurtsema gives his take on the trade speculation with Donovan McNabb, the controversy surrounding Bryant McKinnie and a Super Bowl prediction.

VU: Bryant McKinnie was on Sirius NFL Radio on Thursday and talked about taking an injection that sounds like a cortisone-type shot before the NFC Championship Game. He said it started to wear off about Wednesday and that's when he started to have problems. Can you give fans some background on those shots and your reaction to his statement?

BL: Mac's a tough kid and they're really coming down hard on him. He went through a little spell there for a couple weeks where they were talking about him tipping the pass and the run and everything, so people are really looking for something to hang him out to dry with. Mac is a good football player, but every so often, as big as he is, he stands out in a crowd if there is something going on around the pile. He's been unfairly criticized.

Some players' bodies really start to drain out after the season. For me it was about 2 ½ weeks and my body would just completely drain out. Everybody's body reacts on a different timetable as far as pain tolerance and reaction to certain types of shots, depending on the severity of the injury. In all fairness, the game was just over on that Sunday and he missed Pro Bowl practices four days later. With his foot, he's not a complainer. I have to believe he was starting to feel the pain and he just thought it wasn't worth it to play. He also supposedly was calling his agent to discuss it with him.

VU: With that fan billboard going up near Brett Favre's house in Mississippi, do you think the sort of fan support can have an influence on Favre coming back?

BL: Absolutely. I think that's a tremendous positive reinforcement. Some people want to hang on that last interception. You don't blame Brett Favre for that last play. That's ridiculous. With him and Sidney Rice crying after the game, this man loves the competition. With his passion for the game and all the negativity that he received from our neighboring state of Wisconsin, I think the billboard is just a great idea and it could have an influence on Brett Favre coming back in 2010.

VU: Having gone through those tough endings to seasons and the disappointments, how long do you think it will be before he is in the right state of mind and the right physical condition to really make a decision that you think can last?

BL: At his age, normally it's up to six weeks before you start to think of working out. It would be a full two, two-and-a-half, three months before he can even walk into it. Right now, everybody in the National Football League who is not playing in the Super Bowl is contemplating retirement. After the season, you're thinking, ‘What am I doing?' Then after a while your body starts to feel good, and in a couple months you go, ‘Wow, we're going to win it next year.' It's a pretty predictable roller-coaster that most players with a good attitude go through.

VU: So let's get your far-too-early prediction on Favre and Pat Williams. What do you think will happen with both of them contemplating retirement?

BL: I think Pat Williams, he's a locker room guy, but I think he'll retire because his life is pretty well set up. With the amount of playing time that he had and what he went through, he really tapered down a lot from the previous two years. As far as his playing time and what he was accomplishing – he had some great games last year – I think Pat will retire.

As far as Brett Favre goes, I'm leaning toward him coming back, based on one and only one thing – that up front coach Brad Childress will say, ‘Show up before the first preseason game.' Don't bring him to training camp. There is always an exception to the rule and Brett Favre is the exception to every possible rule. There is no animosity from any of the players about him missing training camp. Look what happened this year. Why wouldn't that be duplicated? Part of it was freshness throughout the year and how much he enjoyed it because he did miss training camp. At that age, when you go through meetings in the morning, practice in the morning, practice in the afternoon, meetings at night, 11 o'clock curfew, the fans – and especially Brett Favre with no private life whatsoever and a constant demand from the media, Packers fans booing him, intelligent Vikings fans embracing him – it's draining. My last year was at 36 and I didn't have it obviously near what Brett has, and you can feel it coming out of training camp, like, wow, I'm dead on my feet.

VU: If Favre doesn't come back, what are your thoughts on potentially trading for Donovan McNabb?

BL: That's a tough call because I don't think Donovan McNabb is nearly as good as Brett Favre is. Favre worked with the receivers so well and taught them so much. When he got here, they were eager to learn and they got on the same page with Favre. Of course, George Stewart, the receivers coach, what a great communicator he was between the quarterback and the receivers.

VU: What do you think McNabb would be worth? Would you give up that late first-round pick or a second-rounder?

BL: Well, he's 33 and I saw him scramble a few times during the Pro Bowl and I thought my TV suddenly was in slow motion. Of course, the way it looked, I think that whole game was in slow motion. McNabb knows quite a bit of the system, but Favre had five years with Darrell Bevell in Green Bay, so that was a huge plus because he was a communicator and mediator between Coach Childress and Favre. I wouldn't give up a one, but I'd probably give up a second-round pick.

VU: OK, let's get a Super Bowl prediction from you.

BL: Absolutely all day long, go Colts! I think Peyton Manning is going to take advantage of the Saints defense. Obviously the Saints have to be pretty good to get out to 13 wins. Yes, they're a good football team, but I think Manning's experience and working so long with Tom Moore, who was in Minnesota, I think they'll just be able to pick them apart and win by maybe 10 points. It might not be as high scoring of a game as everybody thinks because the Colts defense is playing better. It might come down to a chess game in the fourth quarter.

Bob Lurtsema registered 57 regular-season sacks and three in the playoffs during his 12-year career as a defensive lineman in the NFL, playing with the Baltimore Colts, New York Giants, Minnesota Vikings and Seattle Seahawks, and was the longtime publisher of Viking Update. He joins for a weekly Q & A session, and his monthly column appears in the magazine.

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