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Harris Release Has Shades Of Favre Divorce

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Harris Release Has Shades Of Favre Divorce

In my newest weekly column, I draw some parallels between the recent release of Al Harris and the organization's choice to fracture ties with Brett Favre back in 2008:

Harris is a 35-year-old who was told his services would no longer be needed. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

The column appears in the Bliss Communications platform of publications including the Janesville Gazette, Janesville Messenger, Stateline News, Walworth County Today and Walworth County Sunday.

It also appears in the Reilly family of newspapers including the Dodgeville Chronicle, the Pecatonica Valley Leader and the Democrat Tribune of Mineral Point.

Follow the above link to read the column.

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (78) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

PackerFanJon's picture

I see where you are going with this and I like it but I feel Favre's dismissal was still worse because he was completely healthy.

TT hates older players!

davyjones's picture

I think TT only "hates" older players if he has viable alternatives who are younger & better. What GM in the league doesn't use this approach?? If they dont, they should.

CSS's picture

Hard to say he 'hates older players' when he just signed several veterans to fairly lucrative extensions where they will finish their respective careers in Green Bay.

There's a great deal to this story and I see the parallels from the, 'he said - he said' perspective, but not a great deal more.

I like Harris, but that injury ends most careers and certainly makes the training staff hold their collective breath everytime a player with that degree of reconstruction pivots, cuts and stops abruptly.

@packerdrunk's picture

Favre was not an older player he was a retired player. his own damn fault.

melissa's picture

Well said.

jeremy's picture

The packers supported Harris through his entire rehab. When they realized they didnt have room for him, instead of placing him om IR they set him free to play were ever he could. What wrong with that?

Oppy's picture

Agree 100%.

Al Harris is responding emotionally right now. I would wager that in the years to come, after he eventually retires, he will look back and reflect on what has transpired and realize that the Packers were much more professional and genuine than he originally felt they were.

Tarynfor 12's picture

Al felt they were leading him on by having him learn and study.Sorry but what were you suppose to do Al?

It is amazing how 13 year veterans who have at some time screamed that football is a business and tell the fans that when they leave for more money it's business.Yet when released whether for money reasons or the play of others,they got back stabbed.

I hope Al stops heading down the Favre trail before he says too many things he shouldn't and be the MAN we want to remember him as and not become hated and tarnish what he leaves in Green Bay.

Business is business and in football even more so.

MarkinMadison's picture

The parallels are thin, and I think that your own article demonstrates how different the sitautions were. With Harris, your last paragraph summed it up. The Packers wanted to see where Harris was at, and wanted to see if an injury created a need. With Farve, they got sick of the waffling, which dated back several years. The only factual parallel is that in both cases they had a younger player that they thought was ready to emerge at the position. But the situations were handled in completely different manners. Are the Packers using a 49ers philosophy from the 80s? You bet. Can I see where there might be some miscommunication between the team and Harris given that they needed to both a) prep him in case they needed him and b) decide whether they were able to cut him? You bet. Parallel to the Farve fiasco? Nope.

Brian Carriveau's picture

Did I say they were exactly the same? No. Are there parallels between old players giving way to younger players and the "he said, she said" angle? Yes.

MarkinMadison's picture

Harris is going to the Dolphins. There is always "he said/she said."

Wiscokid's picture

Not a bad place for him to land. He lives in Florida already. It's likely a better place for him anyway. Any of us that know what cold weather is like (I expect that's pretty much all of us) understand how cold weather makes injuries feel even worse. For a guy rehabbing a blown out knee, the warm Florida weather has got to be a better environment for him.

I really liked Al. A good character guy who did a great job for us in Green Bay. He's kind of the anti Mike McKensey. I wish him all the best.

hyperRevue's picture

Harris to Dolphins.

I'm glad I'll be able to still root for him.

Jer's picture

Apparently he doesn't feel quite the same level of anger toward the Packers as Favre did since he chose to play in Miami instead of Vikings (who were also said to be interested).

Now I can root for him to finish out his career strong. :)

dgtalmn's picture

I think the Miama was an easy decision since he lives in Florida and only a nut case would want to play in Minn.

JimR_inDC's picture

It's important for Ted Thompson to keep looking to replace the oldest players with quality younger players. He has done this, and I hope he continues to do so.
Best wishes to Al Harris on his continued career down in Miami, and my thanks for the excellent contribution to the Packers these past 6-7 years. :)

PackersRS's picture

I think, this time, you were way off, Brian.
Yes, the are the "older player" and the "he said, she said" paralells.

But it's a completely different aninal.

One player was just released.
The other retired, unretired and was released.

I'm not going to argue about this again, but if Favre doesn't retire in his own will, he's still a Packer.

Harris didn't get hurt on his own will.

Favre, ultimately, could've stayed with the team.

Harris, apparently (we don't know all the details), never had that option.

hyperRevue's picture

I have to agree. The parallels that do exist are awfully thin.

Brian Carriveau's picture

I realize there's difference. I never said the situations are exactly the same. Words like "parallels" and "shades" should indicate that. I'm just pointing out some of the similarities that nobody else has. That's all.

hyperRevue's picture

No one is saying you said they're "exactly the same." We understand the nuance you're using. We just think the parallels are so thin that the premise doesn't work. I'd say the Al situation was more like Sharper or Mike Flanagan or William Henderson.

The Favre situation was extraordinary and unique. The Harris situation is completely common.

Bad Knees's picture


CSS's picture

I think you left a few dozen 'retires/un-retires' out of the narrative. Otherwise, well done.....

PackersRS's picture

Not to mention the creation of the word "aninal".

Wiscokid's picture


ron's picture

Thompson doesn't hate old football players, he just realizes this game isn't kind to older players like any intelligent GM would. Especially CBs that are approaching 36 and coming off one of the worst knee injuries anyone could have.

As far as comparing this to the Favre situation, I think its ridiculous. There are just so many more difference in the situations than similarities.

Joel's picture

Stupid article. Al's dismissal isn't even close to the Favre deal.

Andrew In Atlanta's picture

Nice writing Brian but you're really stretching here.

Brian Carriveau's picture

What am I stretching? All I'm doing is pointing out the similarities. I know the differences, you know the differences, everyone who follows NFL football knows the differences. That's why I generally avoided them.

Charlie's picture

I think the point that's being made is that its a thin concept for an article. Do better next time.

PackerAaron's picture

Jesus Christ - Brian wrote that there are similarities - AND THERE ARE. Just because you people are too busy trying to prove how much the situations are different doesn't change the fact that there are a few things that are similar and Brian chose to point them out.

"Do better next time"? Where do you get the balls big enough to say that? Seriously, go read Packer Chatters and fuck off.

Love this post Brian. Keep up the great work.

Lumpy Gravy's picture

Wow, I don't think there's any need for anyone to get this heated. One who posts anything in a public forum, especially one like this where the premise is (I presume) to create dialogue about the subject matter contained herein, would be severely remiss to not expect criticism, warranted or otherwise.

Those who say it's a premise upon which it would be difficult to write a thought-provoking and substantive piece have every right to do so. I suppose you also have the right to tell them to "fuck off," but you come off looking unnecessarily defensive and childish.

Anyway, I agree that the subject does not lend itself well to a very interesting article. I don't think that the similarities between the Harris scenario and the Favre 'fiasco' are any less apparent than the differences.

PackerAaron's picture

" come off looking unnecessarily defensive and childish" - Wouldn't be the first time.

dgtalmn's picture

Wow, as they say about advertising, even the bad pub is good. Never seen such a reaction. There are some parallels and Brian did point out that it is not an exact match. But it is interesting on how the NL treat older players. Kinda like the real world job market.

As the hair dye commerical says..."he's got energy...he's got experience".

Wiscokid's picture

Wow Aaron, tell us how you really feel. You most definitely get an A+ for subtlety.

Charles's picture

Well, I cut out my long snarky, ROTFL response after seeing a front page post on this.

I'll just say instead I meant "do better" constructively, in that a) I didn't think the article's concept was well thought out, despite Mr. Carriveau's usually excellent clarity and style, and b) I was only trying to defend others being critical of the article. I mean, he does get paid, right?

Oh, shucks, here's part of my snark:

'Maybe he should write about the similarities between the Jim Taylor and Favre "divorces", it would mean about the same thing.' Riding the LOLlercoaster with me yet? No? Darn.

One more!

'I usually save my "bag of dicks" comments for Todd, but in this case I'll take one bag, and add one complimentary sack sandwich for immediate delivery to the cheeseheadtv offices.' I crack myself up.

PackerAaron's picture

"I mean, he does get paid, right?" - no, he does not.

FITZCORE1252's picture

I accept your apology.

Scott in China's picture

In some strange way it is a complement. I think because of the quality of the pieces and of the site in general the readers forget you are just fans and that this isn't the Joural-Sentinal. Keep up the good work and thanks.

Charles's picture

(On not getting paid)

Well, that blows!

jack in jersey city's picture

al harris has signed with the miami dolphins

ron's picture

So Al is taking his talents to south beach. Now we need an article about how his decision has shades of Lebron's decision.

hyperRevue's picture


Zub-a-Dub's picture

Both BF and Harris were under contract when let go, or traded. Both were surprises and tough decisions by TT, both are fan favorites, both can start on other teams, and they hand young and very talented replacements.

Yes there is a difference, BF needs a hug (cries to the media)like Chilly said and Al Harris is a true professional with respect for the organization and the NFL in general.

xxstatic's picture

No "shades' whatsoever, Al is heading to Miami to continue his career and not going to the Queens to "stick it" to the Packers.
I wish Al nothing but the best as I will still root for him, I am very appreciative of all he accomplished as a Packer and hope to see him added to the GBPHOF in the future.

Zub-a-Dub's picture

I think a thing that is forgotten in all this, the Packer's did Al a favor. He will get more playing time in Miami than sitting on the bench as an insurance policy for the Packer's secondary.

Once Al has some time to allow his emotions to settle, I think he will express the same thoughts in an interview a year from now.

RickyBobby's picture

I want Al to fail.

This will show me that the GM of my favorite team is totally "on the ball".

If Al plays great for the 'fins then I'll have to be pissed that we let him go.

Basically I want to be able to say... "good move" and avoid having to say... "that was a dumb move".

PackersRS's picture

The only way that TT is wrong in this is if Al Harris is playing lights out AND we lose the season BECAUSE of one of our CBs.

If Al is playing very well, and so are Tramon and Shields, it doesn't prove that TT was wrong.

dgtalmn's picture

Like Havner?

Tarynfor 12's picture

What he does there can't be taken as a would have done here and vice versa.

jeremy's picture

Very true, there are to many circumstances. Such as how do the careers of Shields, Lee, and Underwood turn out.

djbonney138's picture

I love how passionate our fans are. It seems completely sane to let a 35 year old cornerback go when we are going to have to PAY the younger Tramon. I love Al Harris and was one of my favorite Packers, he will be missed and will wish him good luck as long as it doesn't interfere with my Packers.

AndrewInAtlanta's picture

I know you weren't aiming that at me Aaron but geez, take it easy. In the early days of CHTV you once told me to get thicker skin when people disagreed with me in a "not so nice way." I would say the same thing back to you now. We could probably find hundreds of situations that have minor similarities and major differences. Those situations would not make for a compelling read. That's all many of us are saying. I think the world of everyone at CHTV and I love Brian's work. Some pieces are just better than others. I think this one was a stretch. That's all. If Brian writes 9 great pieces for every so-so one then that seems really good to me. I mean how do you get better at this craft without honest feedback?

PackerAaron's picture

Honest feedback is fine. I haven't seen a whole lot of it in this comment section. I've seen people telling Brian his stuff is "bush league" and commanding him to "do better". I'm all for honest discourse. But if people are just going to be rude I am going to communicate with them in their own language.

WoodyG's picture

Reminds me of when I was a kid ...... "He started it." ..... Using profanity is always one step too far ...... Disagree & defend all you want but find a better way of expressing it ..... Honest enough?

That's what happens when you drink too much coffee in the afternoon.

PackerAaron's picture

Probably true on that last part.

hyperRevue's picture

I don't see anyone calling Brian's stuff "bush league." So, just so we're all clear, you're basically just taking issue with Charlie telling Brian to "do better next time," right?

PackerAaron's picture

It was in another thread - I usually don't chime in like this in Brian's threads, mostly because he's a big boy and can handle himself. And yes, I probably overreacted there. It happens.

hyperRevue's picture

Ah, gotcha.

My feelings on this particular post notwithstanding, Brian is obviously anything but bush league.

thepretzelhead's picture

"Leave em at the level they grew."

some guy's picture

Aaron is correct - I called Brian's other article bush league. I completely stand by it for the reasons outlined but especially because Roy Williams had no problems with Collin's hit and went out of the way to voice his opinion. Yet Brian writes an article ripping McCarthy and Collins for either being stupid or for not taking the NFL rule seriously based on his interpretation of the play that differed from theirs and many others. I found the article in poor taste, based on a poor assumption and just bad.

I also used the word dissapointing because I find the stuff on this site, including that written by Brian, to usually be of very high quality, both blunt but fair. that article was simply not.

It is nice to see that Aaron apologized for what he wrote even though he didn't need to. many people are not big enough to do that.

redlights's picture

Apparently, this is a case of "controversy drives revenue". Brian stoked the fire here so that we'd all read his column, which drives revenue to the site. You can either forgive him or never come back to this site. I, too, feel that this is a stretch; but like a different comment, believe that one bad article doesn't overshadow 9 good ones. This is the best Packer site that I know of, and my main source of all things Packers.

Aaron, I despise the use of the f-word in any written or verbal capacity. When speaking, its easy enough to say "f'ing", or similar. Obviously, writing it as I just did, would be accurate enough, too. I'd like to think that we're all "Packer people", no?

Brian Carriveau's picture

LOL, what revenue? Yes, there's some, but they don't even cover what's put into the site.

I don't understand the backlash here. Do you agree with the two comparisons I made of making room for younger players and the "he said, she said" angle? They're pretty hard to refute.

That's all I'm trying to bring to people's consciousness. Nothing else. There's no other agenda here.

CSS's picture

Come on Brian, we all know this gig has you rolling in the dough. Starting your own Super PAC to ensure public funding of this domain, no doubt.....

Cuphound's picture

Brian's overwhelming strengths as an analyst are his command and scope of detail. I've rarely encountered anyone who can talk about a subject as easily with such quick reference to fact. He's a methodical, comparative thinker who is unlikely to be swayed by any argument that is not closely reasoned and backed by fact. That said, he is detached enough emotionally that he rarely gets embroiled in any sort of emotional controversy. He can disagree without offending.

I will always read any piece that he writes. PERIOD. He's a gifted analyst who writes well about a topic that I care very deeply about.

This piece wasn't as successful as others he's written mostly due to its framing. Any Favre comparison evokes huge emotion in this particular audience (still, God help us). A writer needs to anticipate those emotions and manage them in a piece like this.

As a reader, my first instinct was to feel that "the Favre divorce" had been evoked simply to attract hits. There's no way Al Harris' story compares with Favre's on a personal or emotional level in fan's lives. Moreover, I don't feel the comparison of the two sheds much new light on (1) how Packers management thinks or (2) either one of these departures. At least, if it does, they way the piece is presently written does not make those key conclusions stand out.

That said, knowing Brian's past work, I doubt this was a gimmick. My instinct is to say that Brian compares every possible aspect of Packers' football with every other aspect, simply as a matter of being thorough. I don't think he anticipated the emotions this particular comparison would evoke in his audience. That is the weakness that is associated with his particular analytical strength. Few individuals will ever be emulate his capacity for passionate interest combined with dispassionate analysis. After all, that's why he can be a good analyst. If we all had that, we wouldn't need him!

But watch. I bet Brian adapts really well to this experience. How sad for the Vikings that their quarterback doesn't have that kind of character.

How very, very sad for the Vikings.

Brian Carriveau's picture

I think you hit it on the head, Cuphound. I didn't anticipate the emotional reaction.

To that end, I wish I had managed them a little bit more and pointed out the differences between the situations of Harris and Favre, which are large and numerous.

I had only intended to point out these similarities, which–in my opinion–were quite interesting. I didn't think the differences needed to be pointed out because everyone is sooo familiar with them. An assumption on my part, and we all know what happens when you assume.

Wiscokid's picture

Hell Brian, you don't have anything to apologize for. I didn't see anything in your article to everyones panties in a bunch about. Is there a full moon out?

David's picture

Aaron - I hate seeing the written words f'ing or worse yet, frigging, when a good fucking will do just fine. David (fellow New Yorker)

dgtalmn's picture

I enjoy it more than saying it ;)

Norman's picture

To quote the great Martin Luther (or maybe it was Rodney) King, "Can't we all just get along" here?

Have to admit I laughed out loud about he Lebron comparison, made my day!

PackersRS's picture

Regarding replies and "thick skin".

It's like this. If you don't like the article, fine. Don't read it. If you feel like making constructive criticism, then do so (I feel like I did).

First of all, don't be rude.

But what I hate the most is when a commenter dishes out, then is called by the poster, and then says "geez, calm down". YOU WERE THE ONE WHO INITIATED THE BASHING!

"It's the internet, it's natural for commenters to criticize!" NO IT'S NOT! Just because you're "anonymous" you don't have the right to act like a douchebag. Nobody comes to your work and critizes it! So why should you come to a blog just to criticize it?

Again, it's very different to disagree with the blogger. But to call his work insuficient or whatever? That's ridiculous.

(I may be being hyocritical right here, so call me out if needed)

Andrew In Atlanta's picture

I told Aaron (not Brian) to "take it easy" because he over reacted and later admitted as much. I was also referencing a blog conversation Aaron and I had some years ago when he was getting started with CHTV which I'm sure many don't know about. I really can't follow your comment RS as you seem to be going in different directions, especially considering your original comment to Brian's post. I didn't insult Brian in the slightest so if "douchebag" was aimed at me I don't get it.

PackersRS's picture

Really not aimed at anyone specifically. Don't know why you took it personally...

This was prompted by reading Chalie and Lumpy Gravy's comments. But it wasn't aimed at them either.

PackersRS's picture

And I'm not going in different directions.

I thought, and still do, that Brian's post was off, I completely disagree with him. The faint similarities aren't enough to make the comparison, in my opinion, as the most important aspect of both "divorces" is the player's condition to stay with the team by his own will.

However, like I say in this post, it's one thing to disagree with him (to tell him he was stretching, like you said, and I agree), it's another to tell him to "try again", to "do better next time".

AndrewInAtlanta's picture

Ok, peace then RS. You quoted some things that only I said so I thought you were aiming at me

thepretzelhead's picture

Let's just face it. The bye week is hard on everyone.

Overkill's picture

Hoping he does well in Miami.

Graffin's picture

smeh smeh, blah blah blah, smeh, blah. GO PACK GO! Love this site.

Keith's picture

A little late to the party here, but I'm with Andrew. While the comparison is apt, what's the point of the article?

Brian responded in the comments: "I don’t understand the backlash here. Do you agree with the two comparisons I made of making room for younger players and the “he said, she said” angle? They’re pretty hard to refute."

True, but this can be said of the majority of roster moves in the NFL. Every year, every team cuts a veteran in favor of a younger, cheaper player (sometimes w/ more upside.) Also, it's no surprise that each side has its own spin on things. As they say, there are two sides to every story.

I don't think it's talking out of turn to say it was a stretch as the focus of a column.

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