Jared Allen advised Brett Favre to stay retired rather than return for the 2010 season, and it was sound advice.
The incident will live forever in Vikings lore: Allen, Ryan Longwell and Steve Hutchinson were dispatched to Favre’s compound in Mississippi to talk the ever-indecisive quarterback into returning to Minnesota for the 2010 season.
"“Hutch and Longwell put the pressure on him,” Allen said. “I was like, ‘Listen, dude. It looks like you got it pretty good down here.’ His place is amazing. I’m like, ‘I’m going to be real honest with ya. If I’m you, I stay retired.’ But I’m like, ‘Don’t come back thinking you gotta prove something. If you want to come back and have fun with us and try to win some football games, do it. If not, I might retire and move down here.'”"
Favre ultimately caved in to the pressure from teammates to return. And it didn’t hurt that Zygi Wilf and the Vikings gave him $16.5 million for one season in an uncapped year.
Unfortunately for everyone involved, things did not work out in Favre’s second year in Minnesota.
An injury to Sidney Rice robbed Favre of his favorite downfield threat. Favre himself was clearly diminished after taking a beating in the NFC title game against the Saints the previous year. An almost immobile Favre offered a juicy target for pass rushers.
Brad Childress tried to save the situation by trading for Randy Moss mid-season but Moss’ presence in the locker room only created tension and he was cut a few weeks later.
The thrill of seeing Favre throw a touchdown pass to Moss did little to alleviate the sense of doom-and-gloom slowly settling in over the entire Vikings operation at that point.
Childress would follow Moss out the door in short order. After a snowstorm collapsed the roof of the Metrodome, Favre and the Vikings were forced to play an outdoor game in icy conditions against the Bears.
Favre suited up for the game but was knocked out early on a big hit from Corey Wootton. That would prove to be Favre’s last play in the NFL.
Favre would spend the last few weeks of his career watching from the sidelines as the Vikings played out the string on a miserable season. After the last game, Favre would finally call it a career.
If only Favre had listened to Jared Allen, he could have saved himself a lot of physical beating while sparing fans the pathetic sight of a once-great player struggling to recapture the glory. Minnesota also could have gotten a one-year head-start on finding a quarterback-of-the-future.
Of course, Favre did get something good out of that season: $16.5 million. There’s always a silver lining. Or in this case a green one.