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Friday Out-Takes: The Perfect Storm

Every Friday, John Cockrell will offer up his perspective on the latest NFL developments that catch his eye. His views are his own, not those of the Patriots.

Brett Favre, Brad Childress & The Perfect Storm

It had to end this way. And by invoking the word "end" here, we know we're taking a big risk. And by "big" risk, we mean a risk on the level of, say, failing to hedge your bets, QB depth chart-wise, and instead banking on the willy-nilly word of that attention-grabbing diva we like to call "Brett Favre, Prom Queen."

Tuesday, presumably on break from the arduous task of pretending not to notice a massive BEN ROETHLISBERGER story (guilty or not - and it sure looks like "not" - it was criminally negligent for the Worldwide Leader to pretend nothing was going on in Nevada last week), ESPN planted a big, sloppy wet kiss on BRETT FAVRE's latest stop on his "No, really, I *mean * it this Time!" Tour. Yep, not sure if you guys heard, but it turns out old Brett "Legacy Schmegacy" Favre has "decided to stay retired" - and you know if the ex-Packer-cum-Jet-double-agent-we-guess has "decided" something, it's set in stone!

Actually, to be fair, Favre's most recent zig-zaggy wino routine represents a remarkable triple-whammy. With this development, the future Hall of Fame quarterback has managed to mess up yet another team, the Minnesota Vikings, thereby annoying Out-Takes, while simultaneously pushing farther out onto an already shaky limb a bush-league HC in BRAD CHILDRESS, thereby making Out-Takes double over in raucous laughter and Karmic satisfaction. In addition, somehow, despite being out of his big-boy braces for more than a decade and despite plenty of experience cleaning up p.r. snafus, Brett Favre bull-in-a-china-shopped his way back to the status quo - insomuch as his "status" can ever be considered in any way "quo" - while failing to follow the clearly marked path back into the hearts of Packer fans everywhere.

According to ESPN's ED WERDER, Favre considered his latest decision "the hardest...I've ever made." He then added, "I didn't feel like physically I could play at a level that was acceptable." While we don't doubt the veracity of this, and while we believe that somewhere in there lurks a heartfelt and laudable kernel of Iconic Athlete Honor Code, we'd just like to chime in with this:

For the love of God, Brett, how do you not at least pretend * that part of your decision to retire was based on - well, here, we'll compose the 11-word press release for you - "In the end, I just couldn't do it to the Packer fans." You could've cited what we guarantee are literally *thousands of letters from pleading Cheeseheads, pulling you back from the brink of tainting goodwill earned over 15 seasons spent as Green Bay's very own Paul Bunyan! Sure, many would've called B.S. on that move, Out-Takes included, but come on, man, it was the obvious play! (Then again, throwing a 25-yard out off his back foot in OT versus the Giants, with the 2007 Super Bowl hanging in the balance, was, according to Brett, the "obvious play" and look where that got him.)

Say this, Brett Favre has been rumored for years to be about one thing and one thing only: Brett Favre. And his explanation certainly lives up to that. So while it might not be exactly savvy, his being upfront deserves some measure of applause - the sound of one hand clapping, for instance. (Leaving the other hand free for slamming the door, which we hope he won't let hit him on the ass on his way out.)

Post-script: (Because, with Favre involved, how could there not be?) After all the Tuesday hoopla, all the column inches and bandwidth, Favre told his old friend, former position coach STEVE MARIUCCI, now of NFL Network, that he's going to keep on throwing and working out. ('Natch.) Asked how he's likely to feel in the coming days about what the media keeps charitably referring to as his "decision," the flip-flop king of Kiln, MI, had this to say: "I'm wondering that myself." Really, Brett? We aren't. This thing ain't over.

Out-Takes's Top Twitter: Drayton Florence

The week's Top Twitter Moment is brought to you by cornerback DRAYTON FLORENCE. After several up and down seasons in SAN DIEGO, and one year spent as the embodiment of the JACKSONVILLE nickname, the "JAGS," Florence signed with Buffalo, in an apparent bid to see if his perpetual underachievement could be somehow blamed on the weather. But before his first training camp practice, the 28 year-old DB has already begun making headlines, tweeting this:

"Let's go get Vick who else is with that up in buffalo, I want signs at practice tomm let's start our own vick campaign."

As if Bills fans and the Wilson family don't already have kittens in their stomachs about TERRELL OWENS and that whole "T.O. SHOW" thing (more on that next week), now they've got Drayton "um...who?" Florence extending what sounds like an inadvertent, enthusiastically taunting invite to the Upstate New York branch of PETA. And that's setting aside actually bringing Vick in. Can you imagine? T.O. and Michael Vick in Buffalo? If he weren't already in prison, O.J. would be rubbing his hands together in hopeful, anticipatory glee.

Meanwhile, we're left to wonder, Is Drayton Florence really this stupid or is his Tweet just the first phase in a brilliant plan hatched by Buffalo's front office to set T.O. up as "the level-headed one?" Either way, Vick or no, our Jiffy pop is already at full-on ripping-through-the-foil status as that opening Monday Night tilt between the Bills and New England fast approaches. (Oh, and by the way, O.J., you are already in prison. Ha ha.)

Blooper Reel

~ In light of the Favre announcement, one wonders what Minnesota's phenom running back ADRIAN PETERSON will be thinking later this week. That's when he'll be gazing over at the training camp sideline to spot Major Dad and his minor league passing game, helmed by a QB whose personal motto may as well be: "TARVARIS JACKSON - like MICHAEL VICK, but nicer to dogs and much, much worse at football!"

Speaking of Tarvaris - and, lest we forget, the immortal SAGE ROSENFELS - join us, won't you, in raising a glass to the guy who puts the "bad" in Brad Childress, for scoffing at the value of 3000 yard passer, MATT CASSEL. Give our best to Adrian and the OL, Brad, just as soon as you get their attention off the opposing D stacking nine in the box. Here's to you.

~ Dear MICHAEL CRABTREE, we believe we speak for many football fans - not just those in the Bay area - when we say, You've got a rep as an A-number One diva, a stress-fracture foot injury to return from, a (not all that talented, no matter who it is) QB to get in sync with, and a city desperate to crown you the heir apparent to some guys named RICE and OWENS. We know, we know, you're 'better' than your draft position. We don't disagree. Now sign your contract and get the hell into camp.

~ As much as we'd love to pile on any member of the 2007 NEW YORK GIANTS, and as much as we know that aiding and abetting a crime is an offense not to be taken lightly, Out-Takes is having a tough time getting behind the possibility of charges being brought against ANTONIO PIERCE for helping a panicked friend in a time of need, especially when "a time of need" translates to "just shot himself in the leg because it turned out his sweatpants waistband wasn't strong enough for a Glock." We wish Pierce all the luck we won't be wishing his troubled, troubling ex-teammate. And not just because said ex-teammate caught that pass. (But mostly.)

And finally...

The Summer of Passing Icons continued this week as the NFL lost another giant in Eagles Defensive Coordinator JIM JOHNSON, whose battle with cancer ended on Tuesday. While Johnson's career was clearly less flashy than fallen stars like MICHAEL JACKSON, WALTER CRONKITE and STEVE MCNAIR, his career path and outlook were unique and admirable. In a day and age where getting ahead and shooting for station above vocation are revered above all, it was nice to see a guy who "knew his place," in the best sense of what can often be a dismissive, derogatory phrase.

Jim Johnson knew what he wanted to be and it was a coordinator, not a head coach. That level of acceptance and awareness, that blend of self-confidence and humility, no doubt contributed to his becoming one of the all-time great NFL assistants. His Eagles defenses - which he helmed for ten years, beginning back in 1999 - were consistently creative, aggressive and productive. Amidst unproven rookies holding out prior to playing a down, and vets whining that a gambling dog-abuser isn't getting a fair shake, Jim Johnson's life offers a lesson in perspective, in being grateful, not entitled, and in what it means to be truly happy. It teaches us that being truly happy isn't the hoped for result of grabbing the brass ring. Being truly happy is the brass ring.

John Cockrell is a screenwriter, whose other work has run the gamut from "Sesame Street Parents Magazine" to Playboy TV's "The Weekend Flash." (He figures everything else is pretty much in-between.)"

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