NFC North: New York Jets

Posted by’s Kevin Seifert

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- Here’s how Minnesota quarterback Brett Favre described his physical condition after Sunday’s wild victory over San Francisco: “My right foot is sore, left knee is a little sore, both shoulders [are sore], neck a little bit. Other than that, I’m fine.”

Favre noted he had never been so spent after a game in his 19-year NFL career. So Thursday, the Vikings limited his participation in practice as they began preparations for Monday night’s showdown with Green Bay. The Vikings listed Favre’s injury as a “foot,” but in reality I’m guessing they’re just pacing their nearly 40-year-old quarterback.

The NFL issued a total of $125,000 fines last month after Favre revealed the New York Jets limited him in practice without putting him on the injury report. The Vikings apparently are taking no chances this week, even though it’s a certainty Favre will play.

I’ll have a full NFC North injury report compiled by early evening.

Posted by's Bill Williamson

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- It was a whirlwind Tuesday, but Brett Favre feels back at home on a branch of the Mike Holmgren tree.

After being chauffeured by his new coach, Brad Childress, (and being followed by a hovering helicopter) from the airport to the Vikings' facility, Favre took a physical, signed his contract, ate lunch, put on his Vikings helmet and hit the practice field.

Favre Signs With Vikings

Favre signs with Vikings
No camp? No problem
Favre vs. Vikings' schedule
Reaction from Green Bay
Pasquarelli: Nothing's for certain
NFL Nation on Favre's return
Fantasy: Risk vs. reward
Sifting through the buildup
Favre's top 10 moments
Vote: Favre's impact on Vikings


Carter rips handling of situation
Gruden, Jaws break down move
Mortensen on Favre's return
Schefter analysis

Favre is back in the NFC North, and more importantly he's back in the West Coast system -- his comfort zone. Childress coached for Andy Reid, who coached for Holmgren. He's expected to quickly fit into Minnesota's system, much more than he ever did in his four-plus months with the New York Jets. Favre always seemed like he was playing catch up in 2008.

"(Minnesota's system is) Much easier from a system standpoint," Favre said. "Still have to learn the guys and stuff, but it was so much easier today just to call the plays I was familiar with. Those guys in New York last year were great kind of conforming the offense a little bit to where it was functional for me. But it was difficult. I really didn't think it would be as hard as it was.

"Whereas here, there's little subtle changes in the offense that may take a little (time), but the formations, the protections, the routes and stuff are the same. Today I didn't miss a beat calling those plays."

Favre ended his retirement this year nearly two weeks later than last year when the Packers traded him to New York. But because of his familiarity with the Vikings' system and their coaches (Minnesota offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell coached him in Green Bay), Favre seems ready to make a run with the Vikings.

(Read full post)

  AP Photo/Reed Saxon
  Which rookie quarterback is under more pressure to succeed in 2009: New York's Mark Sanchez or Detroit's Matthew Stafford?

Posted by's Kevin Seifert and Tim Graham

With nothing better to do during the NFL's dog days of July, two of our division bloggers hopped on the phone this week to debate which rookie quarterback faces more pressure this season: the Detroit LionsMatthew Stafford or the New York Jets' Mark Sanchez.

Podcast: Football Today
NFL bloggers Kevin Seifert and Tim Graham debate which rookie quarterback faces more pressure in 2009: Matthew Stafford or Mark Sanchez?
Football Today

The NFC North's Kevin Seifert and AFC East's Tim Graham considered the issue from a number of perspectives, including:

  • The 2009 expectations for each team. (Detroit: Win some games. New York: Win some playoff games.)
  • The contracts each player signed. (Stafford: Biggest in draft history. Sanchez: Biggest in Jets draft history.)
  • Each team's alternatives at quarterback. (Detroit: Daunte Culpepper. New York: Kellen Clemens.)
  • The urgency for each player to start right away. (Stafford: Moderate. Sanchez: Mandatory.)

Graham suggested the Jets will follow the Joe Flacco model that coach Rex Ryan witnessed last season in Baltimore. Seifert questioned whether Sanchez is as NFL-ready as Flacco. To which Graham responded with a vague insult of Flacco's foundation -- constructed mostly at the University of Delaware after transferring from Pitt -- relative to Sanchez's grooming at USC.

Listen to the podcast for all of the spice and color you've grown to love from Double Coverage -- and to discover the surprising conclusion we reached.

ESPN's Marcellus Wiley and Mike Golic also weigh in on the topic.

Posted by's Kevin Seifert

We're getting a bit ahead of ourselves here. After all, it has barely been 24 hours since retired quarterback Brett Favre said he needs more progress from his surgically-repaired arm before he decides whether to play in 2009.


In an advance of that, however, one Minnesota player has already fired the first shot across Favre's bow. Appearing Thursday on ESPN's First Take, defensive end Ray Edwards said he would expect Favre to use the same locker room as every other player. Favre has drawn some criticism in the past for using a separate locker room last season with the New York Jets.

"You've got to go to war with these guys," Edwards said. "If you don't want to share a locker room with them, that's kind of b.s."

Favre had a locker assigned in the Jets' primary locker room but he actually used a nearby office.

"I wouldn't like it that much," Edwards said. "Everybody else has got to share a locker room. What makes you so different?"

Edwards made clear he would welcome Favre to Minnesota, saying: "We think it's definitely going to be a great addition to the team if he does come." But when host Dana Jacobson asked if he wished Favre had already signed and at least attended some offseason workouts, Edwards said: "It would have been [nice], just to see his personality, how he interacts with guys. But you know, he's a Hall of Fame quarterback, and you know most of them are pretty much prima donnas."

Edwards has been a starter for most of the past two years, but isn't typically listed among the Vikings' veteran leaders. He's also prone toward hyperbole. Last year, in fact, Edwards predicted he would break Michael Strahan's all-time record for sacks in a season. He finished 2008 with five sacks, just 17.5 fewer than Strahan's record.

Nevertheless, I would imagine Edwards is not the only Vikings player who shares the locker room sentiment. It's the kind of symbolic statement that rankles veterans throughout the league. Earlier this year, in fact, Newsday reported that Jets players considered Favre "distant" in part because he spent so little time in the team's locker room.

Will this issue impact whether Favre ultimately signs with the Vikings? I doubt it. But Edwards ensured it will at least be a topic of conversation if and when it comes to that.

Posted by's Kevin Seifert

OK folks, as the headline indicates, this is where we'll be live-blogging and discussing Brett Favre's upcoming interview on HBO's "Joe Buck Live." Due to the live nature of this event, do me a favor and cut me some slack on whatever typos and grammatical errors you see. They'll get cleaned up eventually.

Remember, you need to hit refresh to read my latest witty entry. I'll put the newest stuff on the top for your convenience.

  • Ok, Favre spoke for about 14 minutes. Come back to the blog a bit later for analysis. Thanks!
  • 9:24 p.m.: We're moving on to the theme of the show, celebrity status for athletes. I think this will about do it.
  • 9:23 p.m.: More on Green Bay: "It's football. It's not life or death."
  • 9:22 p.m.: As for his legacy in Green Bay: "I don't know what to tell them. Vince Lombardi went to the Washington Redskins when he left ... Time heals a lot of wounds."
  • 9:21 p.m.: Favre says John Madden has told him, "When you are gone and away from this game, you can't go back." Meaning, at some point soon he won't have this opportunity.
  • 9:20 p.m.: Favre issues his first curse word. Thanks HBO! He's basically saying there are some people in his corner and some people who don't care for him.
  • 9:19 p.m: On the issue of tarnishing the legacy: Favre says the 16 years he spent in Green Bay speak for themselves.
  • 9:18 p.m.: On the deadline issue: He says there was not one. "It's not like I talk to those guys every day," he says of the Vikings. Coach Brad Childress asked him to come to OTAs. Favre said he chose not to. Favre admits that Childress wanted him to be "part of the team" but says "I chose to stay away" because of the likely media frenzy, especially if his arm was not ready. "So why not just have one media frenzy, and that would be later on," he says. It's not because he didn't want to be at OTAs, he says.
  • 9:17 p.m.: Favre says it all about the arm. If it's not up to par, "I can't play," he says.
  • 9:16 p.m.: Favre: "It makes a lot of sense because the pieces are in place." He mentions the Vikings running game. "If I go there, there's no guarantees," he says. But Favre said "I think every player would like to believe he is a difference-maker." If he goes to Minnesota, he says, "We should be pretty good."
  • 9:16 p.m.: Favre says he met with a Vikings trainer on Sunday to work on different exercises. Favre says it makes "perfect sense" to play for the Vikings and he hasn't talked to anyone else. He says, "I could teach the offense" in Minnesota because he knows it so well.
  • 9:15 p.m.: He says he has talked to the VIkings, nothing other than "Are you interested?" and vice versa. It's "more or less how my arms feels and we'll go from there," he said.
  • 9:14 p.m.: Favre says he had surgery 2 1/2 weeks ago with Dr. Andrews. He says it will be a 4-6 week recovery.
  • 9:13 p.m.: Can't make it up. Favre says "maybe" when asked if he will play in 2009.
  • 9:12 p.m.: Buck says he can't ignore the elephant in the room.
  • 9:11 p.m.: Favre says "I know people are tired of it." He says his intentions are not to "create controversy."
  • 9:10 p.m.: Finally, Favre introduced. He's wearing jeans and a black shirt. His right arm is attached.
  • 9:08 p.m.: Ironic that a show about athletes' celebrity status is now showing us a retrospective of reports that include live shots from outside Favre's home in Mississippi.
  • 9:06 p.m.: Favre video history commences. We are teased that we will find out if he wants to play this year or retire.
  • 9:05 p.m.: We're not interested in the set design, Joe.
  • 9:03 p.m.: For those wondering, the show is live from New York City.
  • 9:01 p.m.: We open with a humorous skit playing off Favre's well-known tendency to waffle. Favre re-commits that he's going to show up for the interview.
  • 8:58 p.m.: Joe Buck, the host of this show, is a "beloved" sportscaster in a promo. This is going to be fun.
Posted by's Kevin Seifert

We're going to give live-blogging another try Monday night in honor of Brett Favre's interview on HBO. This should be especially helpful for those of you who don't have HBO.

Dedicated blog readers will recall that we tried this a couple times last summer, once with disastrous results and a second time with more success. We'll aim for more of the latter tonight.

Here's what you need to do. Come to the NFC North blog shortly before 9 p.m. ET. I'll have a running entry ready to go. It will have this catchy headline: "Live-blogging the Favre interview." Open that post and refresh throughout the interview for the highlights, which in some cases I'll paraphrase.

And, of course, make sure you come back to the blog a bit later for some of our award-winning, hard-hitting analysis and biting commentary.

See you in a few hours.

What's motivating Favre?

May, 5, 2009
Posted by's Kevin Seifert

At some point very soon, Brett Favre needs to consider a critical question. Maybe Minnesota coach Brad Childress will ask him at their meeting later this week:

Do you want to play for the Vikings or against Green Bay? Video
  Vikings coach Brad Childress discusses Brett Favre and the health of rookie Percy Harvin.

If it's the latter, Favre needs to jump back on his tractor and continue living the good life in Mississippi. The NFL game is too difficult, and the stakes in this decision are simply too high, to play merely for the sake of pursuing a vendetta. Proving the Packers made a mistake by trading him last summer isn't a good enough reason to commandeer the most important position on a team that has designs on a deep playoff run.

As ESPN's Mark Schlereth said Tuesday night: "If you're playing out of vengeance, I'm going to tell you right now, those aren't the right decisions."

If Favre wanted to return because he loves playing football, or even if he can't stand the thought of falling from the public spotlight, there are multiple teams he could choose from. But ESPN's John Clayton reported this week that Favre told New York Jets officials that Minnesota was the only team he would consider playing for.

There could be only one reason for that stipulation: Revenge. Otherwise, Favre has no substantive ties to the Vikings. Sure, he was once coached by Vikings offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell. And yes, he appears to consider Childress a professional acquaintance. But it's not like he grew up in Minnesota and always dreamed of playing there. It's not as though he has many friends in the locker room. (The Vikings have only one former Packer on their current roster: Placekicker Ryan Longwell. Thanks to Kyle for catching the omission in an earlier version of this post.)

The only tie Favre has to the Vikings is that they play in the same division as the Packers. I wonder where we would be if Chicago hadn't acquired Jay Cutler. Would Favre be considering the Bears as well? After all, we all know the Bears-Packers rivalry is one of the greatest in all of sports. (Ha. Just an inside joke for long-time blog readers.)

Seriously, this isn't just an issue for Favre. I'm sure there are members of the Vikings organization who are giddy right now, but they need to approach this situation with extreme caution. I don't know if they want a quarterback whose motivation is as twisted as Favre's might be.

I talked to someone Tuesday night who played devil's advocate on this final question. Who cares what Favre's motivation is? If the Vikings can tap into it and capitalize in a way that improves their 2009 team, then why not? But in my mind, those two sentiments can't coexist. I don't think Favre can be the quarterback Minnesota needs him to be if he's motivated more by his Packers angst than he is by his enthusiasm for the Vikings.

Weekend mail call

February, 14, 2009
Posted by's Kevin Seifert

Let's take a tumble through the mailbag as we mourn the first non-football weekend of the NFL offseason.

Brandon of Dallas writes: I saw that the Jags released Joey Porter and I have heard rumors that the Rams may release Torry Holt. You said in a previous blog that the Vikes probably wouldn't sign another wr to a major contract. Do you think either of these guys could be picked up at a reasonable price? If so, do you think the vikes would be interested?

Kevin Seifert: Porter should be available for a song considering his flameout in Jacksonville. Holt can still play and I would imagine it will take some up-front cash to get him. I don't see Porter fitting in with the Vikings, and Holt would probably prefer an offense with more of a downfield passing game.

Joe in Baltimore writes: I was wondering if there are any more details on the Williams lawsuit with the NFL. I haven't heard or read anything about it lately. Also how will this affect the Viking's draft/free agent strategy. I'm sure they would prefer to know something fairly soon and I would think that they (the Vikings) would be pushing this along so that they know how to prepare for '09.

Kevin Seifert: The Vikings really don't have much pull in this situation anymore. It's in the hands of the courts. Nothing has changed in the past two months. We're waiting on the Minnesota judge to either issue a ruling or make a request for more testimony. The Vikings would be well-advised to make a contingency plan in case either player is held out of the first four games. But it doesn't need to be dramatic. They'll just have to make sure their backup defensive tackles can play. That should be their goal every offseason.

Jordan of Austin, Texas writes: Hey Kevin it seems that looking at the draft there really isn't a guy that stands out enough to be a surefire number 1 pick so i was wondering what you think about the Lions trading that pick to say the bucs? They have the cap room for a first pick and it opens up the possibility of the lions giving up the picks needed for Asomugha. Anyways keep up the good work, I definitely enjoy the blog.

Kevin Seifert: Thanks Jordan. I wouldn't be at all surprised if the Lions try to trade down from the top pick. But in order to do so, they have to find a partner that believes there is a player who is worth trading up for and paying No. 1 money to. This year, that team might be hard to find. It's not just a salary cap issue, it's a cash flow problem as well. The top pick, especially if it's a quarterback, will be in line for more than $30 million in guaranteed money.

Tyler of Indiana writes: Don't you think that the Packers need an explosive player on offense? I mean they have good players, but since Favre left they haven't had the explosiveness on offense that they need to win football games. I'm not saying they need a new Quarterback because Rodgers does put up some pretty solid stats, but last season he couldn't win a football game in the last two minutes like Favre could. Their defense is solid from top too bottom when everyones healthy, and they kept them in alot of games this past season. Although I do think they need another big pass rusher. They just need that spark on offense like AP gives to the Vikings or Larry Fitzgerald gives to the Cardinals.

Kevin Seifert: Every team wants a player like Adrian Peterson or Larry Fitzgerald. But I think Greg Jennings can be pretty explosive. To me, this is not the Packers' biggest problem. They need to focus on building their offensive line more than acquiring playmakers.

Christopher writes: What prevents the Jets from simply releasing Favre? How complex a decision is if from the Jets standpoint?

Kevin Seifert: As long as Brett Favre remains retired, the Jets have no incentive to release him. He is now on their reserve/retired list, which means he doesn't count against their salary cap. Only if he decides to play again will they have a decision to make: Squeeze his cap number back on the roster or release him.

San Diego writes: YOU ARE AN idoite !!!!!!!!!!!!!

Kevin Seifert: Thanks for keeping it real.

Juan of Moorhead writes: Other than a quarterback, what do the vikings need to make a superbowl run? they have good players. what are they lacking and why is there defense not stingy like the steelers with all the good players we have? thanks.

Kevin Seifert: First off, I don't think there should be an "other than" in front of "quarterback." It's the most important position in sports. From a personnel standpoint, there aren't many other holes. They probably could improve themselves at right tackle. As for the defense, the Steelers were the top-ranked defense in the league in 2008. No one was as stingy as them. I think the Vikings' defense is good enough to sustain a deep playoff run.

Shawn of Columbus writes: I'll put in the names and can you tell me why i'm stupid or why this couldn't work or otherwise. (cb's)Nnamdi Asomugha, Dunta Robinson. (lb's) Ray Lewis not so much as a backer, but for the team locker room(pride), Bart Scott, Jonathan Vilma, Karlos Dansby, Terrel Suggs. (d-line) of course Haynesworth, Tank Johnson, J.Peppers. and thats for the Detroit Lions. Thanks.

Kevin Seifert: In general terms, Shawn, I don't think the Lions will be big-time shoppers in the free agent market. Everything Tom Lewand and Martin Mayhew have said suggests they are looking to build with -- and use their cap money on -- draft picks rather than veteran free agents. Of all the names you listed, the one that is actually intriguing is Tank Johnson. He's got his problems, but he's the type of player the Lions really need: A big nose tackle who can plug up the interior of the line. Call me crazy.

Jeff of Indiana writes: What is your opinion on Chicago's moving the mini camp up before the draft? Is there precedence for such an early camp? Is it fair to assume that this is an attempt to figure out what top priorities should be for the draft? To give Marinelli a chance to work with the D-line to see if he thinks he can improve pass rush with the existing talent? A chance to look at Basanez and Hanie and see if there is a #2 worthy guy between them? There will undoubtedly be
free agent signings prior to camp and it would always be nice to get a good idea of how new acquisitions might fit in. So what do you see as the driving impetus for the pre draft mini camp? Are there other key factors that you see? Thanks.

Kevin Seifert: There is precedent for a pre-draft mini-camp, but typically it occurs with new head coaches who want to get a sense of the roster before making draft decisions. New head coaches also have the luxury of being able to schedule two mandatory mini-camps. Returning coaches can only call one, and so this will eliminate the possibility of integrating rookies into the Bears' one mandatory gathering of the offseason. This tells me that Lovie Smith is really placing an emphasis on his established veterans to make a playoff push in 2009. I also think part of his motivation is to set a tone for the offseason. This will require players to be in better shape than they normally are in mid-March.

Shawn of Sterling, Va. writes: If you were GM of the Bears, would you wait a year to draft a QB or go with one of the supposed "lesser" talents that are coming out this year?

Kevin Seifert: I wouldn't panic and take a quarterback this year if I didn't believe he had a good chance to develop. But it's also folly to look ahead to a class a full year in advance. A lot can change over the course of the college season. The Bears should evaluate this year's class in a vacuum rather than compare it to the possibilities of next season.

Favre on his shoulder and the Packers

February, 11, 2009
Posted by's Kevin Seifert

Just got off a teleconference with newly retired quarterback Brett Favre, who left very little room for the change of heart many are assuming would occur. Favre said the biggest factor in his decision was the condition of his right shoulder, which he said needs a surgical procedure he wasn't willing to have.


Favre did acknowledge the elephant in the room, jokingly telling a reporter: "I have no reason to wonder why you would be skeptical." Favre said it would be "tempting" to consider a return if he somehow recovered on his own, but he seems convinced the shoulder wouldn't hold up for another season.

"Physically if I felt better," Favre said, "we may not be having this conversation. But I think that [the shoulder] more than anything was the writing on the wall for me."

The apparent severity of the shoulder injury, which Favre said required at least one cortisone shot last season, makes retirement about as permanent as it can be for someone with Favre's long history of waffling. But Favre was much more ambiguous about his relationship with the Green Bay Packers, who said in a statement Wednesday that they planned to retire his No. 4 at some point in the future.

Pete Dougherty of the Green Bay Press-Gazette asked Favre how long it would take to heal the wounds of his divorce with the Packers. Here's what Favre said:

"I haven't even thought about it. For the teammates I played with in Green Bay and the fans, nothing has changed since day one. It's a shame the way it has unfolded throughout this whole thing. I don't know. I don't have answer for that right now. It may be five years. It may be the first game [of 2009]. I have no idea. Honestly, I haven't even thought about it."

Dougherty then asked Favre if he would wait to reconcile until after general manager Ted Thompson left the organization. Favre's response:

"I don't know. He had his reasonings. I had my reasonings. Who is to say who is right and who is wrong? He has a plan. I'm not mad at him for that. Other people may be. I don't know. It's a touchy situation and I know that my stay in Green Bay was unbelievable. Unbelievable. Nothing can take that away. ... It is what it is. It's unfortunate. But at some point it'll be dealt with."

Finally, Favre was asked about part of an ESPN report we referenced Wednesday morning: That his agent, Bus Cook, informally broached the subject of a release. The move would allow Favre to sign with the team of his choice should he decide to play again.

Favre denied asking for a release but added: "It doesn't matter one way or the other. It all comes down to physically how I feel. That could change based on arthroscopic surgery or whatever. But I'm not willing to do that, and I'm not willing to take that chance. But, no, we didn't ask for a release."

There is a difference between informally broaching the topic and outright asking for a release, but we'll leave that distinction alone for now. At the end of a long day of Favre-talk, it seems we can shut the door on his career.

Pretty much. We'll leave it cracked open just a bit. Just in case.

Posted by's Kevin Seifert

Last summer's messy divorce notwithstanding, Brett Favre's No. 4 will still be retired at Lambeau Field some day.

That's the upshot of a statement released Wednesday by the Green Bay Packers. Here's the full text:

Congratulations to Brett on a remarkable career. The Packers organization wishes him and his family well. Brett always will hold a special place in Green Bay Packers history, and we remain committed to retiring his number at an appropriate time in the future.

The Packers originally planned to retire Favre's number last September, but his return and subsequent trade to the New York Jets changed those plans. I would imagine that no ceremony will be scheduled this time around until it is patently clear that Favre is finished playing.

Posted by's Kevin Seifert

I was all set to reveal to you, dear readers, my Grand Conspiracy Theory before the pesky Tom Pelissero of the Green Bay Press-Gazette beat me to it.

Here it is anyway.

The short version: If Brett Favre really wanted to, he could force the New York Jets into a chain reaction of moves that could end with him landing at a seemingly impossible destination: Minnesota.

When they traded Favre to the Jets last year, the Packers insisted on a "poison pill" provision that would require the Jets to forfeit multiple first-round picks if they traded him back to an NFC North team. But there is a way around that obstacle, if Favre is willing and interested.

This is how it would work:

  1. Favre retires, taking his $13 million salary cap charge for 2009 off the books. (Done!)
  2. Favre waffles. (Any day now.)
  3. Favre decides he wants to play in 2009 and requests reinstatement from the Jets. (You can't rule it out.)
  4. The Jets, who are tighter against the cap than any other NFL team, don't have $13 million in cap space and would need to cut other players or at least restructure their contracts in order to squeeze him back onto the roster. And that's assuming they want him back as their starter sometime this summer. (Debatable.)
  5. The Jets can't trade Favre without first adding him to the roster. (NFL fact.)
  6. The Jets release him rather than make the necessary cap adjustments. (Very plausible.)
  7. Favre becomes a free agent. (NFL rule.)
  8. Favre considers only a handful of teams. Minnesota is one of his top choices. (Long rumored.)
  9. Favre and the Vikings agree to terms on a contract. (Voila!)

There you have it. Brett Favre from retirement to Minnesota in nine easy steps.

Final revenge: Packers lose draft pick

February, 11, 2009
Posted by's Kevin Seifert

Brett Favre's retirement announcement Wednesday essentially finalized the terms of the trade that sent him from Green Bay to the New York Jets last summer.

The Packers will get a 2009 third-round pick, a conditional premium resulting from Favre's 2008 playing time. But as numerous media outlets have pointed out, the Packers will have to send the Jets a seventh-round pick in 2010 because Favre will have played only one season for the Jets.

Those terms would change only if Favre plays for the Jets in 2009. If he returns to play for another team, the terms won't change. If the Jets trade him to an NFC North team, they'll have to send the Packers three first-round draft picks.

Posted by's Kevin Seifert

Call me a cynic. I apologize in advance. But am I the only one who has trouble believing Wednesday morning that Brett Favre has absolutely, positively and without question retired from the NFL?

  Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
  Is Brett Favre done for good? We thought so last March.

It seems to me that anyone who watched Favre's flip-flop in Green Bay last year has to be wary of his stated intention to leave the game for good. And I felt that way before reading the entire story produced by ESPN's Ed Werder and Chris Mortensen. The report contained this passage:

While Favre did not directly broach the subject of the team simply releasing him so that he might have the option of signing with another team such as the Minnesota Vikings, a source said that [agent Bus] Cook informally discussed the option with the Jets. The Jets respectfully declined that option, the source said.

There is only one reason to have even an informal discussion about a release: To ensure the option, however unlikely, that Favre can choose his next team should he change his mind. If Favre was 100 percent committed to retirement, such a safety net would be irrelevant. But even Favre -- or at least Cook -- knows there is no way to predict whether his winter defiance will melt into a summer desire.

If Favre tried to build a contingency plan into this departure, then there's no way I can rule out a repeat of last summer's return.

There are other reasons to question whether Favre will stick to his plan this time. If you recall, he has often stated he wasn't totally ready last year to make a decision about his career in Green Bay. The Packers asked him for an answer prior to the start of free agency, and he told them what he felt at the time: That he was ready to retire.

But, Favre pointed out, many veteran players don't want to think about the prospect of next year so early in the offseason. It wasn't until the late spring and early summer when he started experiencing the "itch" felt around the NFL.

  Top 10 Favre moments Video
  NFL Total Access counts down the top 10 performances in Brett Favre's legendary career.

A similar scenario played out this winter with the New York Jets. Team officials were hoping to get an indication prior to the annual scouting combine, which starts Feb. 18. So Favre told them how he feels at this moment. Who is to say he won't get the same itch again this summer?

And, even if he doesn't, you can't rule out a team that is dissatisfied with its quarterback situation -- or loses its starter to injury -- approaching the Jets about a trade. The poison pill that effectively prevents the Jets from trading him to an NFC North team remains in place, but that doesn't mean a fast-talking general manager or coach from another division couldn't convince Favre to give it another go.

Favre threw an NFL-high 22 interceptions in 2008. But if you're in mid-August and your other option is, say, Tim Rattay, don't you at least look into Favre's availability? And if you're the Vikings, how fast would you jump if the Jets reversed course and decided to release him?

I think it's more likely that Favre will remain retired than it is that he will seek a return. But that's as far as I'm willing to go.

Maybe I'm jaded. Perhaps I spent too much time last summer in Green Bay. But if I learned anything during that episode, it's never to underestimate Favre's willpower -- or his indecisiveness. They are competing attributes that combine to make him one of the least predictable professional athletes of modern times.