Posted by ESPN.com's Kevin Seifert
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- It’s days like Thursday that make Brett Favre so difficult to define, pinpoint and, frankly, understand. In separate interviews Wednesday with members of the Wisconsin and Minnesota media, Favre insisted he isn’t motivated to avenge his departure from Green Bay. When I asked him if he is at peace with the way his Packers career ended, he claimed “it doesn’t even cross my mind.”
As unlikely as that might seem, we’ll give Favre the benefit of the doubt for a moment. For argument’s sake, let’s take his words at face value: That time, if nothing else, has helped blunt the stress he felt last summer. But in nearly the same breath, Favre demonstrated why it’s so hard to really know what’s going on in his head.
Reminded he told Sports Illustrated in February that part of his reason for playing in 2008 was “sticking it” to Packers general manager Ted Thompson, Favre hemmed and hawed and finally admitted that it’s only normal to “want to prove someone wrong.”
He insisted he has never used the word “revenge” in discussing the Packers but added: “You know, deep down inside I think it’s human nature to [want that], even though it wasn’t enough to make me decide to play.”
Well. That was enough to seek out a dictionary to see if I understood what “revenge” actually is. (Dictionary.com defines it, among other ways, as “an opportunity to retaliate or gain satisfaction.”) The contradiction represents the beauty and beast of Favre. He took great pains Thursday to downplay every aspect of his showdown with the Packers. But ultimately, he couldn’t stop himself from being, well, himself.
To me, Favre said enough to make clear he wants the Packers to believe they made a mistake in dismissing him last summer. It might not be his sole motivation for signing with the Vikings, but it’s undeniable he feels that way.
On the one hand, Favre said he wouldn’t go through an entire season “just to prove, out of spite, that you can still play.” But literally in the next sentence, he noted that “the best year I ever had was probably my last year in Green Bay.” Translation: The Packers, just in case you didn’t realize it, dumped me when I was playing the best football of my career. I’ll show them.
In the end, Favre did a masterful, if unintentional, job of defining the parameters of revenge without ever using the word.
So just like that, what once promised to be a revealing day of interviews left us with the same lesson we’ve already received a hundred times -- that nearly 14 months later, Favre is still conflicted about his departure from Green Bay and the wild path his career has taken since then.