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Is this it? Not convinced Favre's done

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Posted Aug. 03, 2010 @ 3:02 p.m. ET
By Eric Edholm

This is it.

With three short words reportedly texted to Vikings teammates over the past 24 hours, Brett Favre apparently has changed the landscape of the NFL.

Or has he?

“I’ve got to hear it from the horse’s mouth,” Vikings head coach Brad Childress said in his first press conference since this news came out.

So do I.

Anyone who thinks that we have heard the last from Favre needs to remember whom we are talking about here. Do we need to revisit his flirtation history with retirement that goes back to — wait for it — 2002?

All signs are that Favre is serious about hanging it up. Honestly, this has surprised me.

I assumed, like most, that he was waffling. I assumed he would fight through any pain he might be having in his ankle. I just couldn’t picture him not being out there on Sept. 9 when the Vikings travel back to New Orleans.

Really, I still don’t buy this whole thing.

Show me the retirement papers. Let me see for my own eyes that the man is done. As long as they don’t exist, I’ll assume that this story is far from over.

I have listened to Favre talk about this stuff, as we all have, for at least five years. Every time to date, he has performed the backslide. I still expect something else to happen here.

Will Favre change his mind in two weeks? A month? Week Four, when the Vikings are on bye? Week Eight?

Childress, when asked what might happen in this situation, said he didn’t want to get into all these hypothetical situations. But that’s what you get with Favre — the promise of a flip-flop at some point.

“It wouldn’t surprise me one way or another,” Childress said Tuesday, a familiar refrain of what he has said most of this (and last) offseason.

For that matter, we just don’t know the real truth. Favre hasn’t said a peep to anyone publicly yet.

I have to consider the possibility that he really is done. His body is a wreck, and the mental toll can’t be much less. Favre has been through a gauntlet over the past 19 seasons. Few players, if any, ever have taken that much damage.

But consider this: At what point would the Vikings turn the page? If Favre changes his mind one month from now, would they not welcome him back with open arms?

For all we know, Vikings officials could be trying to talk Favre out of this apparent decision as you read this. In fact, I almost guarantee it.

This is not to throw Tarvaris Jackson under the bus. I am actually a Jackson fan. Talking to the Vikings last season, I can tell you that they legitimately are excited about his progress. They earnestly saw real progress in his game and in his maturity. And if you go back to his four-game stretch at the end of the 2008 regular season, you were looking at a quarterback who was playing better than more than half of the starters in the NFL at the time.

But opportunities like this don’t come along very often. Super Bowl-caliber rosters are hard to put together, coming out of this recently ended salary-cap era.

Raise your hand, optimism aside, if you really think that Jackson or anyone else not named Favre can lead this team to the Super Bowl. Even Childress, who knows this thing could go any way in the next few days or weeks, had to toe the line when pressed on what his contingency plans might be.

“We’ve always had the mantra here that it’s the next man up,” Childress told NFL Network. “You’ve got Sage, you’ve got Tarvaris, and they’re doing a great job out there.”

I can tell you that the Packers, losers of two games to the Vikings last season, are not jumping to conclusions and assuming they are the front-runners. They know as well as anyone that everything could get turned upside down — again — in short order.

And if the Vikings’ opponents are not assuming Favre is gone for good, then I am not convinced, either.

I can promise you that this is not coming from a biased opinion of what I hope will happen. Sure, there is some serious intrigue about what this Vikings team would look like with No. 4 under center, and there is some question about whether he even could mimic his performance of a year ago.

Clearly, Favre is wondering if he can touch the sky again. He might have hit a wall. He might have lost the magic touch. Maybe the ankle really has become his Achilles' heel.

But my best guess? This isn’t it at all.

 

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