Brett Favre’s Road to Redemption
As I survey the charred landscape the surrounds the past year of Brett Favre’s career I have begun to ponder whether there is a way he might regain some of the luster that was removed from the legacy of his remarkable NFL career. There might not be any path that would roll back the clock to the prestige Favre enjoyed immediately following his tearful retirement announcement last March. But if any avenues exist, they are likely choked with rubble and detritus accumulated by a year of ugly confrontations, awkward revelations, troubling missteps and (perhaps most damning) uneven play on the field. Nonetheless, I offer a potential route (with two branches), but the course is delicate, laden with landmines and fraught with peril.
Favre should ask for his release from the Jets (who, by many accounts would be delighted to give it to him) and use that freedom to resign with the Packers. From that point there are at least two ways that might lead to a measure of redemption. First, he could sign a one-day deal that would allow him to retire as a Packer. Then, at the presser for this final retirement, he could announce the signing of the 10-year, $25 million marketing deal that he eschewed last summer. Doing so would keep him part of the team for at least a decade, a period in which he could work to repair his legacy in the manner Bart Starr has in the years since he crashed and burned as Packers coach. Of course, this would require Brett to get off his tractor and come to Lambeau regularly during the season and appear at team events and functions throughout the year, something that might not suit a guy renown for wanting to do his own thing in his own way. But this would be his penance, the road by which he could recapture his legacy, and as an act of contrition it should not be easy.
If Favre still thinks he might want to continue as an active player, he could also find redemption by seeking his release and resigning with the Packers. But this route would require an act of humility for redemption: Favre should come to Green Bay for the veteran’s minimum and announce that he wishes to compete not for the starter’s job, but for a reserve role in which he could insulate the team against injury while mentoring the team’s young QBs and providing some veteran leadership. But the penance wouldn’t end there–he would have to keep his mouth shut to the media and actually support Aaron Rodgers and step out of himself to mentor the young QBs, all the while showing veteran leadership by dressing in the same room as the other players (and having been in the palace they call a “locker room”, that isn’t exactly a harsh expectation).
Sure, there are lots of ways this could blow up in Favre’s face and many potential pitfalls. But if he is interested in propping up with is surely a tarnished legacy, I think acts of humility and service like those outlined here might go some distance in recapturing a measure of Favre’s ubermensch persona, a reputation that has undergone a severe strafing since he decided to not to leave well-enough alone and pursue and ill-advised encore.