Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Do The Hustle

Mark Kriegel writes, for FOX Sports, that Brett Favre has turned his now annual public agonizing over whether to retire into some kind of racket.

Favre's Hamlet act, which is now in at least its third incarnation (who knows what kind of maneuvering he may have been up to when he was still wearing the green and gold of Green Bay?), seems to be wearing a bit thin. More and more people appear to be thinking, "Retire already!" And Kriegel is one of them.

"It's not wrong for him to get more money," Kriegel writes. "I'm just sick of the guy pretending he's so damn pure."

Does that seem harsh? I don't really think so. I mean, you'd probably have to look long and hard to find someone who admired Favre more during his Green Bay days than I did. I've been a Packer fan all my life, and Favre is the most exciting thing I've seen wearing a Packer uniform since the Lombardi days of my childhood.

I will take a backseat to no one in my admiration for Favre. Even after he left Green Bay. You really do have to admire a man in his late 30s (now early 40s) who keeps going out there to face defensive players who are nearly half his age. And he can still play at a time in life when nearly all the men who played pro football hung it up long ago.

He's always been kind of the NFL's Peter Pan, forever young (in spirit if not in body), the kind of guy who seems like he would play even if he didn't get paid.

But he does get paid — and quite handsomely, too — as Kriegel points out.

"In 2007, Favre was making about $11 million in base salary," he writes. "After retiring, un–retiring and reporting to the Jets in late August 2008, he went up to $12.8 million. Last summer, he came out of retirement again and got a two–year deal worth $25 million.

"Now he's become the first 40–year–old in America to get an extra $3 mil guaranteed for taking another month off from work."

I understand Kriegel's frustration — especially when Favre says things like "it's not about the money."

As H.L. Mencken said, "Whenever someone says, 'This is not about money' — it's about money."

That certainly seems to be true in Favre's case, all protestations to the contrary. And Kriegel gets that by reading Favre's own words — between the lines, that is.

Favre admitted that he was getting a lot of money from Minnesota to come back for one more year, but, he said, "that in itself was not the biggest factor."

Therefore, concluded Kriegel, "it was a factor."

And, thus, he writes, Favre has made retirement "one hell of a business."

As long as he continues to produce the way he did last season, it may be awhile before he has a going–out–of–business sale.

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