SPORTS >> Favre to Rhinos a win-win option
Leader sports editor
If you are a Minnesota Vikings fan and find yourself wearing a purple Brett Favre jersey today, or even have one in your closet, shame on you. Unless you bought it for the sheer novelty of it, that is.
The dashing, risk-taking Favre has always been an unretiring sort. But none of us had this in mind when we described him that way.
I suppose there was always a chance the 39-year-old NFL record holder for touchdown passes, completions, yards passing ó and interceptions ó was going to suit up and play for the Vikings this year. Iím sure he probably had that in his mind when he began teasing Viking fans back in June.
But itís hard not to think that on some level ó either consciously or unconsciously ó he simply wanted to jump start the media frenzy that ended with his ďretirementĒ from the Jets in February. This guy is the Sarah Palin of the NFL: He needs a camera and a microphone in front of him like Pete Rose needs a bookie or John Daly needs another pallet of M&Ms.
If you donít have a Brett Favre Google alert set up, or if you are one of the many people whose Brett Favre alert has gone off so many times itís fried your computer, you may have missed the latest decision by the once-hallowed, now-ridiculed (former?)
NFL great. He has Ö let me check the wire for any updates Ö retired.
This column may never see the light of day, of course, given that I am writing it on Wednesday for Saturday publication. A guy can pack a lot of press conferences into 72 hours. Rest assured, weíll take one last look at the AP wire before we go to press on Friday evening.
I couldnít help but laugh when I read in this morningís paper that Favre called his retirement the ďhardest decision I ever made.Ē Yeah, and skiing was the hardest thing I ever did ó until Iíd done it seven or eight times.
Favre announced his original retirement in March of 2008, reversing that decision only three weeks later. It took him until June to actually ask to be reinstated by the Packers. By that time, of course, Green Bay had gone forward with its plans for new young quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
After a prolonged public spat, the Packers understandably refused to give Favre an unconditional release, which would have allowed him to play for division rival Minnesota, and the Vikings wanted him badly. In August, the Packers traded Favre to the New York Jets, who, after an 8-3 start, lost four of their final five games. Favre tossed eight interceptions over the final four games of the season, ensuring the Jets would miss the playoffs.
Displaced Jets quarterback Chad Pennington, by the way, led his new team, the Miami Dolphins, to the playoffs with an 11-5 record. Pennington finished second in the league with a 97.4 quarterback rating. Favre was 23rd with a mediocre 81.0 mark.
Favre proceeded to retire again this February, a decision he held fast to after shoulder surgery in May. But in June, apparently distraught over not receiving any Google alerts with his name in them, Favre dropped a hint that he was considering coming back.
True to his history, Favre spent the next month-and-a-half teasing the Vikings, and his indecision may even have been legitimate in this instance, given that he was feeling out the viability of his shoulder. But itís hard to give this guy the benefit of the doubt anymore.
Meanwhile, though, the futures of quarterback Tavaris Jackson, who had a respectable 95.4 quarterback rating last season for the Vikings, and Sage Rosenfels were put on the back burner to deal with another round of Favre ego-massaging and press manipulation.
I donít mean to knock the guy. I used to be a fan. And, no, I donít resent him because my girlfriend likes the way he looks in a pair of Wranglers. Itís just: Enough already. Get gone. Stay gone. And let us remember you for all the thrills you gave us and not for your shameful end-of-career machinations.
But Brett, if you find you just canít take the silence, that you require brighter light than the mere sun can provide, may I recommend the Arkansas Rhinos as your next gig?
Owner Oscar Malone is trying to infuse some enthusiasm for his team into Jacksonville-area football fans. Itís a win-win if I ever saw one. Favre gets an injection of life-sustaining publicity (I promise weíll cover the heck out of it!) and the Rhinos get a full blitz media campaign and packed stands the rest of the season.
Hereís hoping this column sets off a Google alert on Brettís computer and he gives coach Malone a call.