No reason for Favre to retire

Ryan Chartrand

Winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing.

This is a quote made famous by one of the most storied coaches in the history of sports, Vince Lombardi. He was a man that revolutionized the coaching profession while creating a dynasty in a franchise that once symbolized the NFL.

The Green Bay Packers are followed by loyal fans who can be found wearing large pieces of cheese on their heads wherever their beloved Packers play.

But when you think about the Packers today, neither Lombardi nor cheese comes to mind – Brett Favre does.

The All-American, blue-collar quarterback who has played for the Packers for 15 seasons. Favre is easily one of the toughest and gutsiest players to ever wear a jersey in the NFL.

Without question a first-ballot Pro Football Hall of Famer, Favre has been the poster boy for this league for over a decade. Let alone being one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play in the league.

Because of recent struggles, many have called for No. 4 to hang up his cleats and call it a career. He is just holding back a franchise, and is diminishing its chances of moving in a positive direction, they say.

They say he just can’t get it done and throws interceptions like it’s nobody’s business.

I’m here to tell you that’s ridiculous and Favre shouldn’t hang up those cleats until his legendary feet don’t fit in them anymore.

In professional sports today, athletes are fueled by money and rarely still have the passion that drove them when they were in youth leagues and high school.

Even college athletes can lose perspective when they play at major universities that treat them like royalty. They get too big time and forget at the end of the day it’s just a game that they have the privilege to play at the highest level. Not Brett Favre.

Favre, who is 16 years into a career that has a resume of accomplishments that is longer than the state of California, still plays the game with as much passion as a fifth-grader at lunch time.

The two-time MVP loves playing the game more than any athlete on any level, at any sport.

Most people in this life never have the opportunity to do what they truly love for a living. Not Favre. He has been living his dream ever since he was a boy growing up in Mississippi. At age 37, he represents the greatest game in the world with more class and dignity than any other player in the league.

You will never pick up the morning paper and see Favre on the front cover for beating his wife or being arrested at 2 a.m. at the local strip club like so many others in pro sports. He’s the first one in the office, and the last one to leave. That’s the way he has always approached this game he loves so much.

For those who say he can’t play, his name still sits in all the top-10 categories for all the major statistics for a quarterback. He plays with a bunch of backups who probably don’t deserve to be starting in the NFL.

But when they play with Favre, he gives them everything he has and raises their level of play to levels no one can even fathom. Some may call him an out-of-control gunslinger who has no regard for opposing defenses, but if you watch his receivers closely, they are rarely open and Favre is forced to make things happen. All he wants to do is win.

People should be grateful they get to watch such a legend play every Sunday. Favre has thrown 410 touchdowns in his career, but still celebrates each as if it’s his first. He has started 251 straight games for the Packers.

Even after being hit in the elbow the week before and losing all feeling in his non-throwing hand, Favre refused to miss a Monday night game the following week. That’s just pure heart.

Favre is the Cal Ripken Jr. of his sport, but yet so much more.

He is what you call a once-in-a-generation type of player. They make everyone around them better and remind others of why this game is so much fun.

This is a game in which such a small percentage of people can play in the first place, let alone at the professional level. Even at age 37, he is still one of the most entertaining players to watch and constantly reminds fans how lucky we are to still be able to watch him play. I’ve never met a fan, regardless of the team they rooted for, who didn’t love Favre.

He just keeps on playing and those doors in Canton, Ohio, will be wide open when he’s all done. Because when it comes to Favre, winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing.