You mention Brett Favre to a veteran player on the New York Jets, and you get a roll of the eyes or a shrug of the shoulders. You mention reports that have Favre telling Minnesota Viking teammates that he's planning to retire (again), and you get this:
"That's (bull), stringing them along this far," one player told me after Tuesday morning's practice.
It seems like ages ago, but Favre played for the Jets in 2008. He played well for 11 games, but he hurt his throwing shoulder (the Manginis kept it a secret) and played like garbage over the final five games. It cost the Jets a playoff spot and it cost Eric Mangini his job.
In retrospect, some players feel Favre acted selfishly. They believe he kept playing only because he wanted to maintain his Ironman streak. In other words, he put himself over the team. Two years later, there is no love lost.
A couple of players genuinely like Favre, guys like Kellen Clemens and Dustin Keller, but most of them have tried to expunge the legendary quarterback from their memory banks. At the team's training complex in Florham Park, N.J., it's like he never played for the Jets, with a nary of photo or mention of him in the trophy cases or on the walls.
Owner Woody Johnson and GM Mike Tannenbaum still speak reverently of Favre, but the same feeling doesn't exist around the locker room. No doubt, some players were thinking "Boy Who Cried Wolf" when they heard the latest out of Minneapolis.
Actually, Favre's decision (does anybody really believe it's final?) has an impact on the Jets. They face the Vikings on Oct.11, a Monday night game at the New Meadowlands Stadium.
"If he's not playing in Week 5, I'll be happy as heck," Rex Ryan said. "If he's playing in Week 5, I'll be scared ... maybe not scared, but close to being scared. The guy's a tremendous player. Obviously, you love seeing great players play. I hope, if he's healthy, he still plays. He makes the game exciting to watch."
Maybe, two years later, Favre can help his old team ... help them by staying on the farm.