Brett Favre is the only one who can make the decision of whether or not he should retire. Most professional football players have played this game since they were kids. So you have it in your blood, in your system. The hunger, the passion, the love of the game, it’s always going to be there.
The personal decision to retire — especially when you play at such a high level — is difficult. Brett has played at a high level. I think Ray Lewis will have this decision in years to come. I had that decision to make. A guy like Mike Singletary, who joined us on Total Access today, had that same decision to make.
The passion, the hunger, the want, will probably always be there. But when do you walk away and say, “That’s enough”?
I think that’s the decision and the complication that Favre gets himself into every offseason. It’s been that way for about four years for him. He feels he can play. He wants to play. It’s him. He can’t see himself and football not being together. It was the same thing for me. That’s a tough decision to make as an athlete. That goes beyond just football. That’s for any athlete who has played for a long time.
When do you look deep inside of yourself and say that you’re done and be comfortable with the decision?
I had three teams call me and tell me they wanted me after I retired. That’s a great compliment. It really is a great compliment. But with all of that being said, I was done. I had made up my mind. And normally when I make my mind up, I go with that. That’s my instinct. We all have that inner self, so to speak. We all have that conscience that talks to us, and normally it’s right. We sometimes talk ourselves out of the right thing to do. That gets you in trouble.
I don’t blame Favre for listening to what a team might have to say. But then he’s still saying to himself, “I want to do it.” I heard the coaches when they called, but as soon as they got done saying it, I told them it was an honor that they called and they felt I could help their teams, but that I was done. And then there were no more phone calls from those individuals. I think until Favre does that, he’ll probably continue to have calls up until the point he says he’s completely done and not to call anymore.
Favre hasn’t told himself that he’s completely done yet. If he did play this year, he could probably go out and throw 20-something touchdowns. But will he be satisfied with being a shadow of himself compared to the player that he was in his prime? Because when you’re an elite player, that’s what happens, that comes with the territory.
If he’s satisfied wtih that, then he could play again. If he’s not — and I wouldn’t be, that’s one of the reasons why I didn’t come back — he should walk away. I didn’t want to come back and be a shadow of my former self.
— Rod Woodson