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Cliff Christl Weighs In

I am a huge Cliff Christl fan. Heck, his retirement from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel is what prompted me to start blogging about the Packers. (I figured the net could use a young cantankerous curmudgeon to replace an old cantankerous curmudgeon.) That said, I have to disagree with him completely in regards to his special column on the Brett Favre situation over at NFL.com.

Comparing the Packers behavior in regards to Favre's request to be released from his contract and the organizations behavior when Reggie White and William Henderson had reached the end of their respective relationships with the Packers, Christl writes:

When White decided he wanted to play again in 2000, the Packers willingly released him from his contract. When 12-year veteran William Henderson had the itch to play again last year after being told he no longer fit in the Packers' plans, Thompson released him, announcing that he was doing so to give Henderson a chance to "pursue other opportunities" with no strings attached.

I'm sorry, but the comparison is absurd. It is one thing to give an outright release to a player who is washed up. It is quite another thing to let a player go who can still play the game at a high level. It is Thompson's job to be sure he gets something of value for Favre, if he does indeed end up playing in another uniform. To do otherwise would be not only negligent, but a display of downright incompetence on Thompson's part.

Christl addresses this somewhat with the following:

If Thompson and coach Mike McCarthy truly believe the Packers are a better team with Rodgers at quarterback, they should have the courage of their convictions. If they have as much confidence in Rodgers and their team as they say they do, they shouldn't fear facing Favre in another uniform.

The Packers could have defused this controversy and made this a much less messy divorce if they had given Favre his release soon after he asked for it. Had they exercised the kind of PR savvy that marked the Harlan administration, they would have released Favre and simply announced that they were doing so only to honor his request.

Now that we've visited La-La Land, let's all come back down to Earth. It's great to be cozied up with your laptop and to write something with such bravado, but when you're making franchise-defining decisions at 1265 Lombardi Avenue, things are just a wee bit different. Again, it would be incompetence to the Nth degree on Thompson's part to let Favre play for any other NFL team without getting something in return.

Having said all of the preceding - it is a fantastic piece and well worth your time for the unique historical perspective Christl's long history covering the Packers brings to his view on the current situation, however misguided it may be.

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (4) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Steve's picture

You know... it's one thing having an opinion, but it's another thing bashing everyone else that doesn't think like you.

I agree that Thompson should release Favre. You know why? Because he doesn't seem to care about what he can get for him. He seems only concern about where he should not go. I know it's been said a million times, but why so concern where he lands?? The only reason why is that Thompson is scared. Scared of playing Favre during the season and getting crushed. Or even worst, scared that if he joins a good team, he might go all the way and get another Super Bowl. But this time, not as Packer.

I would be scared too.

packeraaron's picture

Bashing? Hardly. If I spent my time 'bashing' people who don't think like me, I'd never stop writing posts about Corey. I only pointed out that what Christl, who I went out of my way to praise by the way, is being absurd when he suggests the Packers should just release Favre without getting anything in return. And if you could divorce yourself from your emotional attachment to the man, you'd agree.

dgb454's picture

I agree. Christi is wrong on this. You don't give away an asset that has value. TT is allowing some teams to talk to Brett so this whole BS about TT being afraid is just that...BS. This deal is no different than others that have taken place with other QBs before Brett. If the guy can help a team win games then you don't let him go to someone in your conference. Even if he can only help marginally you don't do it. Never help the competition! Ever! If people would take their emotions out of this for a bit and quit looking at Brett as "My Brett, Our Favre" then I think they would see the rational behind the decision not to let the Vikings, Bears or the Lions have him.

Frankly even if the Vikings got him I still wouldn't fear them. Doesn't mean I would give him away either.

Steve's picture

I agree with you guys about getting something for Favre. When I said "release", it was more let him go wherever he wants. My point was more like what do you do in that situation:

If the Vikings or the Bears give you a second (or even first, let's dream a bit!) draft pick with another player (QB preferred), what should TT do?

You still think about Favre landing in your conference or take the deal?

If you're more concerned about Favre playing with the Vikings, something is wrong here.

I'm actually one to say to get as much as you can for him and let's put all that behind. But some days I wonder if that's what TT & cie are thinking well...

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