Please stay away Brett

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By Paul Gable

Is anyone truly surprised by the news out of Green Bay that former Packers quarterback Brett Favre would like his old job back, stating that he has an itch to play again?

Sure, pundits everywhere under the sun said that we, as football fans, had not seen the last of Favre on March 6 when he retired after 16 seasons with the Packers, but we all thought it was a joke right? There was absolutely no way Favre would give up his fishing, hunting and time in Mississippi for another crack at chasing a Super Bowl championship, right?

Or so we all thought, and perhaps, we all hoped it would stay like it was planned with Favre riding off into the sunset after a teary good-bye.

As a Favre fan, I know I did and the reason why is simpleat age 38, Favre had done everything he could do with the Packers. The "gunslinger" had won his Super Bowl championships, had collected his MVP trophies and brought back a franchise with so much history after being traded by the Atlanta Falcons. And he's going to be a Hall of Famer, no doubt about that.

But despite all the great things Favre has done in the last 16 years, he can blow it all by doing one thing and that is returning to the Packers.

I understand his "itch" to play again. As a former athlete, albeit a college athlete, there are times when the competitive juices begin flowing and I'd like to play again, but I ask myself the same thing I'd ask Favre if he were in front of me today, "Why?"

There is no reason why Favre should come back, and yes, all he would do is diminish what has otherwise been a great career.

Remember the likes of Muhammad Ali, Sugar Ray Leonard, Michael Jordan, George Foreman, Mike Tyson, Roger Clemens and Pete Sampras?

All these players owned their respective sports at one time or another before either hanging around too long or unretiring numerous times.

Ali, who is arguably the greatest boxer the sport has ever seen, was not even a shadow of his former self in his final bout against Larry Holmes, which ended with those at ringside begging for the fight to be stopped early.

Foreman returned to the ring after being out 10 years and tipped the scales at 270 pounds during one of his many comebacks. Leonard was embarrassed during one of his final comebacks when Terry Norris left him beaten and bloodied in the ring.

Jordan came back three times before ending his career as a role player with the lowly Washington Wizards. The man that many consider to be the greatest player of all-time was nothing more than a role player at the end of his career.

Tyson's comebacks, well, we all know how those went.

Clemens has come back more times than we care to remember and never delivered on that World Series title he told both the Houston Astros and New York Yankees he'd bring.

And Sampras had it all when he stepped aside in 2002 after defeating rival Andre Agassi in the U.S. Open final. There was no reason for him to come back and embarrass himself against the world's top player, Roger Federer, in a few exhibition matches.

All of these former greats became shells of themselves when they came out of retirement and the same thing will happen to Favre if he opts to come back.

Last season was a magical one for the Packers and Favre, who despite throwing an interception to end the Packers' season quieted a lot of doubters. There is no reason to mess that up with a coming out of retirement party.

Hopefully Favre will remember that the crowds that once cheered for their favorites are the same ones to throw around phrases like "washed up" when they make a comeback and can't perform.

While Green Bay and Packers' nation loves Favre now, it won't be long before they turn on him.

Favre has done a lot of great things during his career. Coming out of retirement, however, should not be one of them.

(Paul Gable is the sports editor for the Grant County News. He can be reached by e-mailing gcnsports@fuse.net or by calling 824-3343.)