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So Long (For Good), Brett Favre

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Brett Favre is hanging up the cleats for a second time, announcing his intentions to the New York Jets and various other media outlets.

I'm sure Eric Mangini says, "Thanks a lot. No, really, Cleveland is a nice place."

The Pro Football Hall of Fame is hurriedly preparing a spot in Canton. I'm certain Favre will be ushered into the PFHoF with much fanfare (albeit, in front of several others who deserve the honor). We will all get to see and hear another tear-flowing Brett Favre speech. John Madden will cry and hold a cookout near his bus.

Green Bay fans will probably forget the "New York incident" with time the way Chicago Bulls fans had to forget Michael Jordan playing for the Washington Wizards. The common tie being both men playing games each loved dearly, but each clearly past his prime.

This is not a career retrospective. Those were done a year ago when the sports world lavished praise, love, hype, and adoration on Favre. This is a reckoning for a year that should not have taken place. Favre's 22 TD, 22 INT performance in the 2008 season did little more than cement the realization that athletes, like Favre, Jordan and countless others, never know when to quit.

Favre's arm, his gunslinger attitude, and his propensity to throw one up for grabs garnered him 464 touchdowns and 310 interceptions. Over 18 years, that's an average of 26 TDs and 17 INTs each year. Decent enough, I suppose considering some of those Green Bay teams in the middle of all of that were good. Two Super Bowls, one win (albeit that one had more to do with Desmond Howard than Favre), playoff games, and a boatload of comeback drives and wins surround the statistics and help frame the story of Brett Favre.

What will the story of Brett Favre be? If it is told fairly, it will include both sides. The stories of the QB who could make stuff up and drive the team to wins in the last minutes must be balanced by the tales of the guy who made big mistakes at the worst possible moments, at times alienated teammates and coaches with his own bravado, and, in the end, was a hired gun who's aim had clearly faded before he rolled down Broadway. What happened to Green Bay this year is what happens in the salary cap-era of the NFL when teams begin to rebuild. What happened to the NY Jets is what happens when teams that need to rebuild squander resources on a single player who is expected to come in and perform feats of wonder in a season of two. Both are hard lessons to swallow and take for the respective fan bases, but they are a part of the current story in the NFL.

So, here's to Brett Favre. Good-bye for real this time.

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