We have been plenty hard on the Green Bay Packers and Ted Thompson. They have badly mishandled this situation. If you are Ted Thompson and your Hall of Fame quarterback needs not just to be asked to return but begged, you do it. When his agent calls, you talk to him. And if that quarterback sends you a text message seeking to talk, you do not blow him off because you are on vacation.
Still, the report by Jay Glazer (confirmed by Jason Wilde) that the Packers welcomed Favre back in March, the first time he unretired, significantly changes my view on the entire situation. The fact that Favre was prepared to unretire and then retired, coupled with the comments he made at his press conference about having “nothing left to give” the Packers, makes the Packers’ hardline position much more understandable. At some point, it would have been irresponsible for the Packers to leave themselves subject to the whims and vicissitudes of someone who plainly does not know what he wants to do and whose many inconsistencies make him hard to trust.
It’s hard to tell what, exactly, Brett Favre’s real story is since he has not yet spoken publicly about his retirement/unretirement/retirement/unretirement. But if we assume that those closest to him — Bonita Favre, Scott Favre, Bus Cook and Steve Mariucci — have been accurately conveying his narrative it is clear that Favre has been dishonest several times throughout the process. Consider:
*When word first leaked that Favre would announce his retirement, several news outlets, sourcing those close to Favre, reported that he would have played at least another year if the Packers had signed Randy Moss. Favre later denied this. Inconsistent.
*Those same early reports had Scott Favre complaining that his brother didn’t really feel wanted by the Packers. Favre denied this at his tearful press conference. Now, Scott Favre is repeating the charge and Bonita Favre is saying the same thing. Inconsistent.
*According to Jay Glazer at Foxsports.com, Favre told the Packers in late March that he wanted to unretire. Jason Wilde has confirmed that report. But in an interview with Peter King for King’s April 4 column Favre claimed that a comeback was “the last thing I’m thinking about.” Favre went on: “I have no idea where that came from, but it certainly didn’t come from me. I’m happy about my decision and I haven’t once said, ‘I wonder if I made the wrong decision.’ I know it’s the right one.” Inconsistent.
*Earlier today, Favre told Steve Mariucci that he really just wants to play for the Packers. Why, then, did Bus Cook begin calling other NFL teams in April, within weeks of Favre telling the Packers he was going to comeback and then changing his mind? Inconsistent.
*Did the Packers tell Favre they wanted him to come back? Favre tells Mariucci that they did not, that this offseason was unlike previous years when they had urged him to return. But when Favre responded to the first question at his March 6 press conference — a question about whether he might change his mind in several months — he said specifically that he had talked to “Mike and Ted” and that “the team wants me back.” Inconsistent. He also said: “I know there’s been comments and issues in the press lately about why I’m leaving, whether or not the Packers did enough, whether or not Ted and Mike tried to convince me to stay. None of those things have anything to do with me retiring, and that’s from the heart.” Inconsistent. And this: “So the Packers wanted me, I know I can play, the fans, I guess they love me. They were camped out at my gate, the media. All these great things. Why would you retire? That’s a tough question.”
That is a tough question.