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Brett Favre Likely Heading Home, if He Hasn't Already Left

Nov 21, 2010 – 7:29 PM
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Greg Couch

Greg Couch %BloggerTitle%

MINNEAPOLIS – Brett Favre walked off the field after one of the most embarrassing losses of his career, 31-3 to Green Bay of all teams, and knew his hopes for a grand finale were gone. Stomped on, actually.

He talked about his long career, his satisfaction with what he had accomplished.

He said he would go home and "re-evaluate."

I don't think he's coming back. Brett Favre is done.

It sure sounded like it Sunday. This career has no happy way out. Favre has a pending suspension coming from his sexting scandal. Minnesota is going nowhere. He is beat up and beaten down. And even if he does come back to this 3-7 team, this was his last game as a relevant quarterback.

If he's going to come back, then he's going to have to talk himself into it.

When he left Sunday, it was for good. That was not "see you later."

It was goodbye.

Twice he was asked if he's committed to finishing the season. He would not make promises.

"I came back for a Super Bowl," he said. "But also, I knew there was a chance it wouldn't happen."

What do you mean you're going to re-evaluate?

"I have no idea," he said, smiling. "That was just an answer."

When it was over, the last player on the field was Aaron Rodgers, the Packers quarterback. Green Bay had given up on Favre a few years ago to get started on developing Rodgers. Favre's feelings were hurt, and he went to the Jets to show the Packers that they were wrong about him.

Now, Rodgers and the Packers are in first place. Favre is just for show. Vikings fans had gone home in the middle of the fourth quarter, and Favre was left with fans chanting "Go Pack Go!" and cameras swarming Rodgers.

People will call Favre a quitter if he goes now, and that's exactly what he will be. But what else is there?

There is no point. He has enough injuries to blame them, and then get out before being suspended or benched.

"I'd like to finish the season differently than today," he said.

If that sounds like he's coming back, think again. There is no different way.

Favre spent his career dreading that he might be one of those guys, one who stays around too long. Nobody wants that.

But apparently it's not an easy trap to avoid. You don't want to stay too long, but you don't want to leave to early, either.

A star always thinks there is more magic in him. That's what made him a star in the first place.

Here is Favre accepting reality: "I feel when I'm out there, we have a chance to win. Every play can be a successful play. And we scored three points."

He almost reached the Super Bowl last year for the perfect ending. And he still does have something special, but he can't sustain it, can't find it when the team must have it.

Just two weeks ago, he threw for nearly 450 yards, the most in his career, and led an amazing comeback against Arizona. But on Sunday, the Vikings had one last chance to fix this season, and Favre was going against his old team.

If there was a moment to lead a team single-handedly, the way he did so many times in his career, this was it.

But he couldn't. He's past his expiration date.

You should see what he looks like when he's not wearing No. 4 and not in a jeans commercial.

He needs a shave. He hobbles. His hair is gray. His face is gray. He got up from the chair in front of his locker and groaned. He was in baggy jeans, a white t-shirt accidentally tucked into his underwear, which stuck out above his belt loops. He put on a casual shirt with a collar and two Vikings employees straightened out the collar for him.

"I want to look spiffy," he said, laughing.

Favre is in the year from hell, but he did this to his own legacy. He doesn't get along with his coach, Brad Childress, who is going to be fired any day. His team is losing.

And most humiliating: He had to tell the NFL that the pictures sent to Jenn Sterger, former New York Jets sideline eye-candy with a microphone, were not from him and were not of his private parts. Now, the NFL, according to ESPN, is using high-tech equipment on the pictures to determine if he's telling the truth.

Oh God, how awful. There is no dignity in Favre's departure, no matter what he does now.

Also, there is no reason for the Vikings to keep playing him. He's 41, and young Tavaris Jackson needs experience, the same way Rodgers did a few years ago.

Favre has started a record 295 straight games, and there might be something magical about 300, but the record is still the record, even at 295.

His on-again, off-again retirements have turned some people off, and they'll be thrilled to see him finally fall off.

I don't feel that way. Maybe that's because as a Chicagoan I saw him come to Soldier Field with the Packers for years and kill the Bears. And Bears fans hated him and respected him, wished he would go away and dreamed of having one just like him. Bears quarterback Jay Cutler was seen as the Bears' very own Favre.

Favre was great for the NFL.

But does he have anything else to do with himself, anywhere to go? If he comes back Monday, that will be why.

Late in the second quarter Sunday, with the Vikings driving and still in the game, Favre, always reckless, threw an interception. He went to the sideline and got into an argument with offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell, who told him there was plenty of football left.

"Of course," Favre said later, telling the story, "I knew that."

Actually, no. He knew it was over.

E-mail me at Follow me on Twitter @gregcouch.

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