Gosselin: Favre says he'll finish his career there

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  1. LaTunaNostra

    LaTunaNostra He Made the Difference

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    Rick Gosselin: Favre says he'll finish his career there

    09:18 PM CDT on Friday, August 20, 2004

    GREEN BAY, Wis. – It pains 49ers fans to see Jerry Rice catching his passes across the bay in Oakland, just as it pains Cowboys fans to see Emmitt Smith running the football in Arizona.

    But that's the downside of the salary-cap system. The great ones are no longer allowed to finish where they start. Joe Montana playing as a Chief, Bruce Smith as a Redskin, Warren Sapp a Raider, and now Tim Brown as a Buc. What's wrong with those images?

    Blame it on the insensitivity of teams. Blame it on greed by players. For whatever the reason, age gets shoved out the door in today's NFL. And it's the fans who suffer.

    Green Bay fans, however, will never have to share in that suffering. Brett Favre, the face of the franchise for the last 12 years, isn't going anywhere. Not now. Not next year. Not when his contract expires in 2010.

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    "I don't think Brett Favre will ever wear a uniform in the National Football League other than the Green Bay Packers," Packers coach Mike Sherman said. "From an organizational standpoint, if we have to push him out there in a wheelchair, we probably would."

    But no one dreamed that Emmitt Smith would ever play in the NFL without a star on his helmet, either.

    Favre turns 35 in October. He's in the fourth year of a 10-year contract. What if in 2008 his skills have diminished to a point that he's no longer a Pro Bowl performer and a young quarterback surfaces in Green Bay to push him out of a job, like Tom Brady did to Drew Bledsoe at New England?

    What's to stop the Packers from releasing Favre then and taking the salary-cap hit – just as the San Francisco 49ers did last winter with their own aging Pro Bowl quarterback, Jeff Garcia?

    Garcia signed with the Browns. What's to stop Favre from signing then with the Bears? Yikes. Or Vikings? Double yikes. Or Cowboys? Triple yikes.

    Take it from the highest possible authority – it will never happen.

    "I couldn't imagine being with another team," Favre said. "But most of all, I wouldn't do it. I don't have the energy to start over. If it comes down to that, I'll just go home. No disrespect to any other team, but I've got too much invested in this place."

    That's what the Packers sensed when they summoned Favre to the bargaining table in 2001. They wanted it to be his final contract. Like Bart Starr and Ray Nitschke before him, the Packers wanted Favre to finish his Hall of Fame career in Green Bay. So they gave him that 10-year, $100 million deal.

    "There's not a spot in the National Football League where Brett would be as comfortable as he is here," Packers president Bob Harlan said. "He's a small-town guy with that small-town attitude.

    "Brett doesn't have to get dressed up. He can drive his pickup truck, run to the golf course, go hunting – things that he can do conveniently around this town. This is the perfect setting for him."

    Favre has been very good to the city of Green Bay. He steered the Packers to their first NFL championship in 29 years in 1996 and took them to back-to-back Super Bowls. He has never quarterbacked the Packers to a losing season in his 12 years as a starter.

    Favre became the NFL's only three-time MVP (1995-97). He has started an NFL quarterback-record 189 consecutive regular-season games and won 125 of them, tied for third best in NFL history. He ranks second in career touchdown passes and fifth in yards.

    Frankly, Green Bay fans owe Favre for putting their franchise back on the map.

    "As much as the organization and the fans think I've given to this team, city and state, it's also the other way around," Favre said. "This is a special place. I have huge respect for what has been laid out here before me and well after me.

    "I'd like to think I laid it all on the field here for them, as much as I possibly can. And I will continue to lay it on the field. I just don't think I'd have anything left to give another organization."

    Score one for the fans. Finally.

    E-mail rgosselin@**************


    Since Green Bay obtained Brett Favre in an off-season trade with Atlanta before the 1992 season, 11 quarterbacks have left the Packers and started for other NFL teams.

    Player Yr. left GB Started for

    Don Majkowski '93 Ind., Det.

    *Kurt Warner '94 St. Louis

    **Mark Brunell '95 Jacksonville

    Ty Detmer '96 Phi., SF, Cle., Det.

    Steve Bono '98 St. Louis

    Doug Pederson '99 Phi., Cle.

    Rick Mirer '99 NY Jets

    Aaron Brooks '00 New Orleans

    Matt Hasselbeck '01 Seattle

    Danny Wuerffel '01 Washington

    Henry Burris '02 Chicago

    * Warner was only on the Packers' training camp roster.

    ** Brunell is expected to start for Washington this season.

    Source: Green Bay Packers


    It appears unlikely that Brett Favre will follow in the footsteps of the NFL stars below, who changed uniforms after years of being associated with one team:

    THEN: Cowboys

    NOW: Cardinals

    THEN: 49ers

    NOW: Raiders

    THEN: Buccaneers

    NOW: Raiders

    THEN: Raiders

    NOW: Buccaneers

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