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We were going to tell you to slow down. Take your time. Think things through. Avoid a rash decision, the kind you can't reverse. Instead, grab a legal pad, scribble out a list of pros and cons. Talk it over with your family, your friends, your agent, the Farrelly brothers, the guy who services your tractor, whomever. Let it all marinate, percolate and then come to the only reasonable -- nay, possible -- conclusion.
You can't just walk away from pro football and go gently into that good night of inevitable pharmaceutical endorsements. Not when your team still wants you. Not when your fans still need you.
Especially not when Page 2 will be utterly lost without you.
Yes, we were all set to pen -- in reality, finger-peck -- a heartfelt missive, imploring you not to hang it up. Only then we realized: By the time we finished writing, you probably would have changed your mind. And changed it again before we found a decent piece of headline art, which still would arrive weeks before the end of Minnesota Vikings training camp, which in turn means anything we say about your pending retirement will inevitably be out of date, woefully so, likely before we finish saying it.
Of course, that's why we love you.
"This is it"? Uh-uh. This is never it. Not with you, Fav-ruh. Retire, cry, rinse and repeat. Some say that wishy-washiness tarnishes your legacy. Not for us. Not by a long shot. For us, your ongoing, media pas de deux theater of the absurd -- Brett Favre was spotted throwing passes to high school players through white smoke rings before noticing his shadow! -- only burnishes your standing.
In fact, you're a surefire, first-ballot Page 2 Hall of Famer. Forget the waiting period. (Assuming we have one.) Never mind the ballot. (Definitely don't have those.) You're in! Right now! After all, the late-June-through-early-August summer sports doldrums aren't just a brutal time for fans. They're a wretched stretch for us. The writers. Man cannot make deadline on MLB trade stories alone.
Think about it: Football is teasing us with training camp clichés, but it's not quite here for real. Basketball and hockey are distant dreams. Even the U.S. Open tennis tournament is a few weeks out. The doldrums are a vast media wasteland, almost unbearable, akin to sitting at a five-star restaurant and seeing the adjacent table get its food, which looks delicious, while we're stuck waiting and salivating and buttering crummy dinner rolls that we promised ourselves we wouldn't fill up on in the first place.
And then came you. The teary news conference. The petty war with the Green Bay Packers. Unretirement numero uno. The flip-flop "Madden NFL 09" cover. The gratuitous Golden Retriever in your wholesome Americana mud football ad. Retirement, Part 2. The pettier war with the New York Jets. The self-satirizing electronics commercials. Elbow-gate. Was there a bum ankle somewhere in there? Oh, and the tractor. The front lawn. Always the front lawn. Plus the vacillating. Always, always with the vacillating.
Thank goodness for the vacillating.
It's a blessing, really. A selfless gift. And to think some sports pundits criticize you for being selfish. Hello! How many column inches and hours of airtime can Dez Bryant's refusal to carry shoulder pads actually fill? You were there for us, Brett. You manned up, gunslinger-style, in our times of need. You didn't simply give us something to make fun of -- you gave us something to make fun of over and over and over again. Like Roger Clemens. Or maybe A-Rod.
We know you understand. We know you love the circus. We know that you know that we know you love it. Nobody can tell us otherwise. In fact, we're positive that's why you just maybe might announce your big adios today, effective immediately, and probably, possibly, we'll see for the rest of your life. Because you saw that we still needed you. You saw what was happening. Impostors and wannabes were clawing at your throne, encroaching on your turf. Like camera-hogging wonder twins Terrell Owens and Chad Ochocinco. I'll form an Eagle; you form a bucket of water held by a publicist! Or Ozzie Guillen saying something inflammatory about race. Or Albert Haynesworth's Sisyphean struggle to outsprint a pack of panting television reporters.
Or "The Decision." That had to smart. Total rip-off. LeBron James, fishing in your pond, dragging things out, acting all conflicted, creating a silly spectacle that left people visibly annoyed and secretly entertained.
As such, no wonder you're "retiring." You have to restore order. Set the late-summer sports world back on its axis. Put the pretenders in their place. Metaphorically get these kids the heck off your lawn.
Brett, we're behind you. Count on that. No matter what. In fact, we prefer things that way. Once you're done walking away for good, when you come back after training camp, or in Week 6, or just in time for the playoffs, or for the second half of the NFC title game or if during your Hall of Fame induction speech you tear off your yellow blazer to reveal a No. 4 Washington Redskins jersey underneath well, we'll stand behind that, too. Never stop stopping. Never quit quitting. Be you.
Always remember: We can't pretend to miss you if you don't pretend to leave.
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