So is Brett Favre retired or isn’t he?
ESPN seems to think he is. Which is why they’ve spent the entire day acting like the world just came crashing down around their ears.
Brad Childress, on the other hand, doesn’t seem so convinced. At his press conference this morning, Chilly said he hadn’t heard anything about retirement from Favre, and wouldn’t believe any such stories until he heard it “from the horse’s mouth.”
Players were mostly careful when discussing the subject, with the notable exception of Visanthe Shiancoe, who went on ESPN to say he had heard from some teammates that Favre indeed was planning to hang up his pads.
Within minutes of Shiancoe giving his grim report, Favre’s buddy Ryan Longwell showed up on TV saying he had spoken to Favre just before practice and, contrary to all the stories, the QB had given no indication that he was done playing.
Head spinning yet? Well, it gets better.
This afternoon, two more reports surfaced that basically shot down the whole retirement story.
One came via Mark Rosen of WCCO in Minneapolis, who tweeted the following around suppertime:
"Longwell told us after practice he spoke with Favre again and Brett said he didn’t know where this was all coming from."
And then there was this report from the Biloxi Sun-Herald, in which a Favre family source said, “Brett has not made a commitment to play or a decision to return at this point.”
In other words, Brett is still, at this moment, right where he has been all summer: on the fence.
It’s hard right now to know what or who to believe. It’s possible that the Vikings have been informed of Favre’s intention to retire, and are playing dumb about the subject in hopes of talking him into playing, a process that could involve offering him a few more million dollars. And it’s also possible that whoever come up with the story in the first place was flat-out wrong.
If so, it would not be the first time some reporter was wrong about a Brett Favre retiring story. That kind of thing happened to Ed Werder on about a weekly basis last summer.
The best position to take is the one most people seem to be taking: don’t believe it until you see the Vikings take the field with someone other than Favre at quarterback. And, even then, hold open the possibility that Favre could change his mind and come riding in on the proverbial white horse.
Maybe, some propose, Favre’s ankle just needs a little extra time to recover. Until after the Week 4 bye, possibly.
Of course, for that scenario to be realized, the Vikings would have to be willing to hold the door open for Favre – and I’m not necessarily sure they would be.
Football isn’t like baseball where a guy like Roger Clemens can just swoop in halfway through the season and start dealing. You need to get in work with your team when you’re a quarterback, and most importantly, you need the trust of your teammates. I believe that if Favre put the team through all this drama only to not be there on opening day, then suddenly decided to play after a few weeks, the veterans on the squad would rise up as one and shoot down the idea. Much as everyone loves Favre, there has to be a limit to how far you’re willing to go in accommodating his whims.
Of course, if the Vikings were to lose the first 3 games, the other players might feel differently.
It’s all speculation at this point. The only thing I know for sure is that, as of this moment, I don’t believe Favre is retired. But I could change my mind about that within the next five minutes.