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Brett Favre is retiring.
I know. You’re waiting for the punchline.
But Favre — who would have more universal support as one of the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history if he wasn’t also the most selfish athlete in sports’ history — apparently is too banged up to continue his career. His surgically repaired left ankle has not healed as quickly as he had hoped and he began telling Minnesota Vikings teammates Monday night that he won’t be back.
An official announcement is expected today.
Vikings coach Brad Childress said today he has not yet heard a final decision from Favre. He called the situation “fluid.” Sounds like the last three years.
Now, this is the mother of all “ifs.” But IF Favre doesn’t return, it’s a significant
preseason gift for the Falcons. Regardless of what you think of Favre, his retirement significantly weakens one of the Falcons’ biggest competitors in the NFC. At least five teams in the conference were considered on the same level or better than the Falcons: New Orleans, Dallas, Green Bay, the New York Giants and Minnesota.
Remember, this is the team that pretty much outplayed everybody last season, including the Saints in the NFC title game. Minnesota dominated in yardage (475-257) but committed five turnovers — including a Favre interception in the final seconds of regulation — and lost in overtime 31-28, derailing the Vikings’ Super Bowl hopes.
Favre threw for 33 touchdowns (the most in his career since 1997) and 4,202 yards (his most since 1998). His completion percentage of 68.4 was the best of his career. You could understand if Minnesota is a little stunned by this. If ever there was an offseason when Favre DIDN’T seem likely to retire, this was it.
And now? Barring a roster move, Minnesota must go with Tarvaris Jackson or Sage Rosenfels. But such is life when a team hitches its wagon to sports’ own little Hamlet. How many NFL teams are going to be willing to open training camp without its projected starting quarterback? Childress catered to every of Favre’s whims. He did everything but mow his lawn.
Favre, a former Falcon, went from having one of the greatest reputations as a competitor and a team guy to one of the worst. He held three franchises (Green Bay, New York Jets, Minnesota) hostage during during his career, as he tried to orchestrate when and where he would play. He will be remembered for that as much as winning a Super Bowl and three MVP awards with the Packers.
Favre, who turns 41 in October, told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune last month: “After almost nine weeks, [the ankle is] not where I would like it to be, but I’m working at it. Maybe it never gets to where I want it to be. Forty years old … three surgeries … that’s all you need to know.”
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