Favre's Return

Brett Favre is the most beloved athlete of his generation along with Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods. He is one of the six or seven greatest quarterbacks ever. Heís coming off an MVP-caliber season.

So why are so many people Ė including about half of Packer fans Ė hoping he doesnít come back?

Because if he does, that means Brett Favre lied to us.

If he comes back for another year it will mean he deceived us.

It will mean his word counts for nothing and Favre has never lied to fans before.

Heís never talked about how much he wants to end his career somewhere only to wind up on another team next season. Heís never said heís going away to spend more time with his family, only to return in six months.

Heís never been anything but open and honest and sincere with us Ė with fans Ė and to lose that puts Favre into the bottomless pit of athletes who take us for suckers and tell us only whatís easy for them to say in the moment.

If Favre comes back and his tearful retirement speech turns out to have been a lie then he is no longer special anymore. Or at least not as special and not in the same way.

Losing that would be hard.

When Favre told us in March he was retiring, we believed him. We felt his emotions and became emotional ourselves. Weíd never known Favre to lie before and we took him at his word that weíd seen him play for the last time.

He cried. Fans cried. A glorious era was coming to an end.

Weíd seen the man confess to and then overcome addiction. He didnít lie about that.

We were there as his wife went through cancer. He didnít lie about that.

We were touched when his father died and he played one of the best games of his career. He didnít lie about that.

We succeeded and failed as he succeeded and failed and he was open, honest, vulnerable and raw throughout his entire 18-year career. He never lied about that.

So when he announced his retirement, when he cried, we cried for him. We didnít think he was lying.

But maybe he was.

If Brett Favre comes back, he will have betrayed us. He will have played us for fools, used our emotions. He will have lied.

Iím a Packer fan. I was there in person for many of the first starts of his career. Iíve probably seen him play 100 times on TV. I donít have the close, obsessive, relationship some fans have to him, but I appreciate his guts, work ethic and what heís meant to the Packers, the state of Wisconsin, and the NFL.

Brett Favre is not a dime a dozen athlete. Coming back to play again would make him that.

The stereotypical pathetic pro jock who canít let go.

Favre has never been about wins or losses or statistics. Heís been about watching a real person go through real life with great successes and gigantic failures. We had a true relationship with Favre that went way past fan-athlete. If you donít think so, then how come Favre is so much more popular than other quarterbacks who were more successful or better than him like Dan Marino, John Elway, Joe Montana and Troy Aikman? We viewed all of them as athletes, we see Favre as a person.

If Favre comes back, a great deal of that shine comes off and that would be a terrible thing for us, and for him, to lose.

Favre never should have retired in the first place. That was obvious then, itís obvious now.

He still wants to play and heís still physically able and the idea heíd be happy riding his tractor in Mississippi for the next 30 years was absurd. You can only mow the lawn so often.

Itís clear he was to some degree shuffled out the door by Packer management and itís equally clear he has legitimate heat with Packers G.M. Ted Thompson which has caused this fiasco.

Where that friction comes from, Iím not sure, but that Favre doesnít think any more of Thompson than to send him a text message informing him of his desire to return and that Thompson texts him Ė Brett Favre, the legend, the NFLís all time leading passer Ė back saying heís on vacation and it will have to wait shows the degree to which these two donít respect each other.

Favre would make the Packers a better team next season. As Roddy Piper used to say, heís the icon that can still go. Despite Aaron Rogersí progression and potential, Favre was arguably the third best QB in the league last season and the Packers were a bad game by him from the Super Bowl.

But this is not a football issue, itís a human and emotional issue. Favreís always been more than a football player, but if he comes back, he becomes one.

Thatís a big step down and it would be a shame.