With Minnesota Vikings players scheduled to report to training camp in less than a week, Brett Favre remains anguished about whether he should come out of retirement and join the team. That decision, according to sources, has become more difficult in recent days because of the efforts of Vikings players including Adrian Peterson, Jared Allen and Steve Hutchinson, all of whom have now begun calling and texting Favre in an attempt to convince him to become Minnesota's starting quarterback.
"If it weren't for the involvement of the Vikings players directly telling Brett they want him on their team, I think he might have already decided against playing again,'' a source said.
A source said that Favre is beginning to feel a sense of obligation, not only to Vikings players but to a coaching staff that has been recruiting him since the moment the New York Jets released him in April. According to sources, Favre has been communicating regularly with Vikings head coach Brad Childress and offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell, who was Favre's offensive coordinator in Green Bay for three seasons.
Now, I'm the first to question "unnamed sources" when it comes to Brett Favre, as we've certainly had our share of unsubstantiated breaking news over the past several years. But while some of the folks at ESPN are seeing it as a possible emotional breaking point for Favre (and others (particularly Packer fans) are seeing it as a ray of hope in the ongoing drama), this kind of news release is likely one thing: a PR move to make an upcoming decision seem as if it was actually one he didn't want to make.
The most surprising notion in all of this would be: my God, he's just NOW deciding to listen to a PR guy??? Now, mind you, I'm not on board with the torches and pitchforks as many other Packer fans are: I think last summer was a crucible that was fueled by all parties involved. But I will easily concede this about Favre: the theory that he would take "the high road" following his retirement is pretty much shot to pieces.
Not that he has to, and it sure has made for good headlines for places like ESPN. But, Favre really has thrown a match over his back as he goes over bridges leading out of Green Bay, seemingly unaware of (or uncaring about) the fans he's left behind. He's made comments (reported second-hand from last year) in the Jets locker room that he's out to get Ted Thompson, the GM that let him go.
Many loyal Packer fans have interpreted that as that he is out to get "The Packers", and others have gone as far to believe he is out to personally dis Packer fans. I don't buy into that, but you can sure see how people can come to that conclusion.
But even moreso, you have to shake your head at how Favre has allowed that conclusion to continue to spread like wildfire. I've long believed he's had the wrong people in his ear for quite a while, people that don't understand the delicate politics that come with being prominent in the public eye. That may be Southern Belle Deanna, his buddy Bus, or any other of the folks who like to keep him believing that he's above it all.
But, as that July 30 deadline approaches, there's been a palpable feeling of acceptance of the inevitable, and for many Packer fans, that means essentially "hating" Brett Favre for wearing purple and gold. The negative sentiments have been there since last summer, but ever since he announced he was considering coming out of retirement, it is completely clear that Favre wants to be a Viking, and the vitriol is running a fever pitch.
I don't think this latest rujmor has anything to do with his health, nor do I think it has to do with money. It has to do with damage control, that finally, somebody figured it was time to tell Brett, "Hey, you should probably make it look like you don't really want to play for the Vikings."
Come on. "Anguish"? The only reason he will force himself to play for the Vikings is because Adrien Peterson is begging him and he feels "obligated" to do so after Brad Childress and Darrell Bevell have tripped all over him this offseason? Childress is on his last legs in Minnesota, and Bevell did little more as Favre's quarterback coach in Green Bay than to ask him how he wanted his coffee each morning.
The message the Favre camp is trying to send is that he really doesn't want to play for the Vikings, but he may have to. You know, out of obligation. Loyalty.
I'm not sure exactly what kind of reaction he would expect to be getting from the Packer faithful, but I doubt it is going to swing their opinion too much. Far too little, far too late. And far too insincere.
But maybe it will get more sympathetic play on ESPN and the other national feeds. But, anguish or not, I think this almost insures Favre is going to announce his return with the Vikings next Friday. Anyone have an extra ticket for the Viking game this year?