4

April

Brett Favre’s Return To Packers: Are Fans Ready?

Brett Favre

This is how most Packers fans prefer to remember Brett Favre

It only took me 18 months before I broke down and wrote about Brett Favre.  I joined Jersey Al’s team in August of 2012 and until recently, it was pretty easy to avoid the topic altogether.

Over the past year, however, Favre’s name has been tied more closely with the Green Bay Packers and a return to Titletown is not far off for old #4.  During that span, our team has penned a few pieces about Favre, most recently of which was done by Kris Burke last year in June.

Favre retired after the 2010 season and three seasons removed from being the Packers starting quarterback.  For many fans, those three years seemed like a decade.  The year in New York with the Jets was kind of like being at a preseason game.  The game is going on and it looks like football, but who really cares?  The last two years of Favre’s career were a much different story.

For those with some time to spare, about an hour and twenty minutes, to be exact, here is a link to the film “Last Day at Lambeau“.  It chronicles the time between Favre’s first retirement from the NFL and the Packers to his last game at Lambeau Field as a member of the Minnesota Vikings in 2010.

I remember Favre’s signing with the Vikings in August of 2009.  Whether he orchestrated his departure from New York in order to land in Minnesota or if the stars just aligned that way, I hated the football Gods.  It wasn’t that I was worried about Favre beating up on the Packers, because I honestly didn’t think he could.  I just didn’t want to deal with all of the attention and build up.

2009 came and went and the Vikings got the best of the Packers in both games that season.  Favre and the gang were within his merely falling forward to give themselves a chance to go to a Super Bowl that year.  But in true Favre fashion and almost as if it were scripted, a vintage interception ended the Vikings’ run and 2010 would turn out to be a disaster (literally, as Mall of America Field was rendered inoperable by massive snow build up).

13

August

Are Packers Ready To Retire Longwell?

Ryan Longwell

Longwell will retire as a Green Bay Packer

We learned, today, that Ryan Longwell will retire as a member of the Green Bay Packers.  Players sometimes will sign a symbolic one-day contract with the team that they started with and so that they can finish up where the started.  Longwell spent his first nine NFL seasons with the Packers before joining the Minnesota Vikings for his final six.

Longwell holds many Packers records that still stand today.  The most notable is most points scored in Packers history, with 1,054.  While Longwell’s former teammate and former Packers quarterback Brett Favre was known for his consecutive games played streak, it is Longwell who holds the record for most consecutive games with a score, at 144.  Favre recently began to hint that he was getting closer to a return, of some sort, to the Packers and Longwell has decided to do the same.

While this is a “feel good” story and it’s always good to see a former standout member of the Packers return home to Green Bay, I have to wonder if the Packers feel the same way?  Not because there was any real bad blood between the team and Longwell.  Well, OK, there were a few interviews in support of Favre when he joined the Vikings in 2009.  I have always believed that kickers should never speak to the media and after those episodes, I really believe that.  And there was also the time he said that Applebee’s was “as good as it got” in Green Bay as far as restaurants, but I digress.  Is there an opportunity knocking (or kicking) here?

The state of the place kicking position in Green Bay has been shaky, at best, for the past year.  After a superb 2011 season, Packers kicker Mason Crosby has hit a wall, a brick wall, and can’t seem to shake what is ailing his kicking ability.  He posted the lowest conversion of any kicker last season and even caused Packers head coach Mike McCarthy to take more chances on fourth down instead of trying a reasonable field goal attempt.

22

May

Chicago Bears Brian Urlacher Announces Retirement

Brian Urlacher

Urlacher retires after 13 seasons, all with the Chicago Bears

Former Chicago Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher announced today that he is retiring from the NFL after 13 seasons.

I know this is a Packers website but when one of the all-time greats from a division rival hangs up the cleats, it’s noteworthy. Urlacher is a sure first-ballot Hall of Famer.  No doubt about it.  Even the casual fan knows who he is and what he accomplished for the Chicago Bears and the NFL.

Packers fans surely will forever remember the frustration that he caused them and their team during all of those years.

Here is the message Urlacher posted via his Twitter account:

He ends a career in which he wore only one uniform and was the face of the franchise.  In today’s NFL, it is rare to see a player stay with his original team for that length of time.  But it almost didn’t end that way.

The Bears had released Urlacher earlier this offseason and, initially, it created a bit of a rift between he and the team.  Reports emerged that Urlacher felt that the Bears made him a very low “take it or leave it” offer to stay this season, and he chose to leave it.

Rumors started about which teams might have an interest in the veteran linebacker, one of which was the always-popular choice to pick up an old divisional foe: the Minnesota Vikings.  I think it’s safe to say that those rumors were false.

Urlacher also made some very frustrated comments about the situation and the reaction of some fans.  He stated that he didn’t care what they thought and that he didn’t play the game for any other reason than for himself.  Urlacher clearly backed off of that platform today with a statement that he released, part of which stated:

“. . .When considering this along with the fact I could retire after a 13-year career wearing only one jersey for such a storied franchise, my decision became pretty clear. . .I want to thank all of the people in my life that have helped me along the way,” Urlacher said. “I will miss my teammates, my coaches, and the great Bears fans. I’m proud to say that I gave all of you everything I had every time I took the field. I will miss this great game, but I leave it with no regret”

31

January

My Favorite Donald Driver Photo…

A photo I took of Donald Driver, in all his glory…  (click on image for a full-screen view)

 

Packers Donald Driver Retires - Image

(This was after the Seattle “Snow Globe” Playoff game.)

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Jersey Al Bracco is the founder and editor of AllGreenBayPackers.com, and the co-founder of Packers Talk Radio Network. He can be heard as one of the Co-Hosts on Cheesehead Radio and is the Green Bay Packers Draft Analyst for Drafttek.com.

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7

June

The Irreplaceable Charles Woodson

Charles Woodson

The Irreplaceable Charles Woodson

A lot of talk has been centered lately on Green Bay Packers cornerback Charles Woodson. Just yesterday, the NFL’s Top 100 Players of 2012 revealed that he had been voted as the 36th best player in the league. But the big question on the minds of fans and pundits alike is: how much longer can he keep it up?

Entering into his seventh season with the team, Woodson is a 15-year veteran who will be turning 36 in October. He has just about seen and done it all, and is likely on the path towards becoming an NFL Hall of Fame member after retirement. One more Super Bowl win might just secure a spot for Woodson among that legendary group.

Charles Woodson currently ties for 20th among the NFL’s all-time career interception leaders with 54, and he is just one interception return for a touchdown away from tying the record held by former Pittsburgh Steeler Rod Woodson.

The story of Woodson’s arrival in Green Bay has been recounted numerous times. In 2006, he left his 8-year stint with Oakland for free agency after the Raiders made no attempt to re-sign him. Picking him up, however, was considered by many to be a risky proposition due to his injury history, coming off a broken leg in 2005.

But along came Ted Thompson and the Green Bay Packers, who were feeling some pressure after their worst season record since 1991. A slew of injuries to key offensive players, the release of Darren Sharper, and the allowance for Marco Rivera and Mike Wahle to walk in free agency would lead to a dismal 4-12 season. It was the first season as General Manager for Thompson, and it would become the last season as Head Coach for Mike Sherman.

It almost seemed like fate brought the two together.

Brett Favre, whose retirement was starting to become a question mark, was reportedly urging the Packers’ brass to make some “high-profile additions” to the roster. After signing veteran defensive lineman Ryan Pickett just a month earlier, Ted Thompson made a 7-year, $52 million deal to secure Woodson. It has since become his most notable free agency signing across his 8-year tenure as GM.

Of course, as Charles Woodson has admitted freely, he “did not want to come to Green Bay,” but was forced to when they became the only team to offer him a contract.

12

July

If He Wants To Play, Brett Favre Will Have NFL Options

The month of July;  it means so many different things for people that live in this great country we call the United States.

For most of the population, the seventh month on the calendar is typically filled with fireworks, hot weather, heading to the cabin or beach, and grilling out. For me, that also includes a birthday (the 25th), but you know what I’m talking about—July is full of normal summer activities.

And slowly but surely, it’s become the annual start to the Brett Favre will-he-or-won’t-he come back to the NFL discussion. Yes, Brett Favre is now a regular contributor to your July NFL news.

To be fair, the first round of Favre discussion started this June when he told the Biloxi Sun Herald that he “can still throw the ball as well as I ever have.” By now, we all should know that everything Brett says to the national media has a purpose, even if he also told the Herald that he’s “been beat up enough.” But whether he wanted the press to eat up that first comment is beyond the point.

If Brett Lorenzo Favre wants to play a 21st NFL season in 2011, he’ll likely have options to do just that.

Now, before we get ahead of ourselves with that statement, let’s be reminded that Brett’s family is on record saying he will stay retired. Scott, Brett’s brother, said  ”there was less than a 1% chance (he would return),” and Favre’s mother, Bonita, said “he is crazy if he does (return).”

It’d be hard to disagree with either of those statements. I still think that the chances remain very, very low that Favre every plays again in the NFL, and, after last season’s horror show in Minnesota, he probably would be crazy to return.

But if we know anything about Brett Favre, it’s that if there’s a will, there’s a way. His brother Scott gives him less than a 1% chance? That’s plenty for ole No. 4.  No one has had a harder time walking away from the game than Favre.

So, what if that 1% chance comes to fruition? What are Favre’s hypothetical options to make another comeback? Let’s run them down.

Option 1: Hook on with a quarterback-needy team