Favre future 'fluid;' retirement reports may be premature

by | CBSSports.com Senior Writer
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MANKATO, Minn. – So now Brett Favre is not playing this season, do I have that right? Check the calendar. It's the first week of training camp, and last time I checked Brett Favre didn't make decisions about his future until mid-to-late August.

That doesn't mean I don't believe him ... or the reports that say he's not coming back. It just means I'm skeptical.

Maybe he plays, maybe he doesn't. I just don't why we should believe anything Brett Favre says until ... OK, until the season begins. And even then I'm wary enough that I wouldn't rule out the possibility of his returning in midseason.

My guess is that you wouldn't, either, because that's just Brett being Brett. The guy changes his mind so often that Sears last year built a TV campaign around his indecisiveness, with Favre agonizing over the purchase of a flat-screen TV. The ad was hilarious, with a salesman telling Favre that Sears had real-time price checks for "guys who have a tough time making decisions."

"Yeah," said Favre, "I hate those guys."

I do, too, which is why I'm not convinced Favre is doing anything more than telling someone, anyone, what he feels today. Of course, that means he could change his mind if he feels better tomorrow. With Favre, it could mean anything, and history proves it.

He was retired two years ago before he told the Packers he was coming back, which forced a trade to the New York Jets. Then he retired from the Jets following the 2009 season ... before notifying the Vikings that he wanted to quarterback them. Check the calendars, people. That was three weeks after he told coach Brad Childress he wouldn't play for him.

"Until it's official," said Minnesota defensive end Jared Allen, "I'll believe it when I see it."

Make that two of us.

All I know is that nobody -- and that includes Childress -- could confirm Tuesday's reports. Furthermore, Childress said he'd spoken to Favre in the past 24 hours but had not been told of a decision. Now, don't you think that if Favre were dead-set on quitting he'd let his head coach know? Just asking.

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Childress also said that when he visited Favre in Mississippi in mid-July he thought he "was snapping the ball pretty good" when he watched him work out. He acknowledged that Favre was having trouble making up his mind about playing but said he would not "press" him –- and still won't -– into reaching a firm decision.

But if the reports out there are inaccurate, you'd think Favre would issue a statement or make an announcement correcting them. He hasn't, which tells me that –- for now –- he's thinking of not playing. But remember what I said: For now. It's early, with Favre having the rest of the month to convince himself why he shouldn't suit up another year.

"Everything's fluid," said Childress.

It is when Favre is your quarterback. You stay on red-alert for weeks, with coaches and teammates mobilized to move when and if he makes a decision. But coaches and players here don't seem to be mobilized for anything other than the next practice. So there are reports saying he won't return. Big deal. It's Aug. 3. These guys have been down this road before, and they learned what you and I did –- not to invest a lot in it.

"It's kind of part of my life now," said quarterback Tarvaris Jackson, who fields Favre questions every year at this time. "But (this time) I actually might listen ... you never know the situation. You can't try thinking he's coming back or not. You have to take care of your part in case he does or doesn't."

Notice how Jackson covered all the bases there? If he knows something it is only this: Never try to figure out what Favre is thinking. It's a waste of time. He'll make a decision when he makes a decision, and there is no timetable.

The Vikings don't have one, and I guarantee you Favre doesn't, either. I just have a hard time believing that a guy who hasn't missed a start in a zillion years would call off a career because of sore ankle in early August. I guess others have a hard time with it, too, which is why the Vikings say they'd rather here about Favre's "retirement" from him than from reporters.

"I'm not a big "hear-say" person," said Childress. "I'm a "horse-say" person. I'd like to hear it from the horse's mouth."

Good luck. The season is more than five weeks away.

In the meantime, Jackson quarterbacks the first team, Sage Rosenfels quarterbacks the second and Brett Favre mulls his next move -– which means little has changed with the Minnesota Vikings.

"Look," said Allen, "the sun's going to rise tomorrow, and we're going to have football whether Brett's here or not. We'd welcome him back, but (with) 20 years (of service) he reserves the right to do what he wants to do with it.

"Obviously, timing issues will be a factor, but we have Tarvaris and Sage working. We played football without him once before; if we have to do it again we'll do it again. We've got bigger things to worry about rather than whether he's coming or not."

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