The last time we ventured down the Brett Favre path in my column, I wrote that Favre returning to the game amidst any sort of controversy could, and most likely would, tarnish his legacy. Today, that sentiment remains, but now it seems that it’s not so much Favre or his play that could scar his Hall of Fame career as it is the Green Bay Packers and the way they have handled his desire to return.

By all accounts, Favre has been trying in earnest to do what’s best, not only for himself, but the Packers, however, it hasn’t been enough. There seems to be an abundance of issues, on both sides, that have yet to be resolved, but I think the majority of those are on the side of Green Bay.

For whatever reason, the time is now for backup quarterback Aaron Rodgers. He sat behind Favre for a few years in a Packers uniform and never seemed to have an issue with it. Granted, he’s an athlete and he wants to play, but he was sitting behind one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play the game on one of the most recognizable teams in professional sports.

Everyone seems to think that Rodgers, for the most part, has said and done all the right things with regards to the situation, however, I don’t think so.

Being a Favre fan, I have followed this story very close, ask my fiance, she can tell you because the TVs at home are always on one of the ESPN stations or NFL Network. Every day on the way to an from work, I listen to sports talk on the radio. At work, I scour the Internet, the Associated Press sites and the local papers, reading story after story, all with the hopes of not missing how this situation is or could be resolved.

It was during one of those times that a reporter asked Rodgers if he would be open to competing against Favre for the right to be the Packers’ starting quarterback. Rodgers’ reply was somewhere along the lines of, they told me I was going to be the starter, so I am the starter. He didn’t answer the question. Rightfully so perhaps, but why not say, ‘Yes’? If Rodgers is confident in his ability and he thinks he can lead Green Bay, open the job up and win it. Remove all doubt. Beat the legend and take over the team. Truth is, he can’t. Not today, not tomorrow, not until Favre is ready to hand the team over.

Through all of my, I’ll call it research, I have come to one main conclusion, which makes sense — at least to me.

If the Packers are so sure about Rodgers and his ability and they are concrete in their belief that Favre cannot start the 2008 season for their team, they should release him and allow him to play for any of the other 31 teams in the NFL. I understand wanting compensation for Favre, but they can find something they want, whether personnel or money, on any team.

What it comes down to is, Green Bay doesn’t want Favre in Minnesota with the Vikings. Forget, Chicago, Tampa Bay and the New York Jets. The Packers would send him to any of those places without much hesitation because they’re not legitimate contenders, however, with the Vikings, Favre could be guiding the team that knocks the Packers out of the playoffs. As I said, he COULD be.

The message is clear. Favre wants to play. Green Bay doesn’t want him to play, either as a Packer or anything else. That was evident with the offer of $20 million over the next 10 years from the Packers Wednesday. How can you tell a legend, ‘No, you can’t play football anymore’?

If the Packers are committed to Rodgers and they feel he can lead their team to the Super Bowl, great! Prove it. Send Favre anywhere he wants to go and let Rodgers show that he truly is the better man for the job. If Favre goes to Minnesota, we’ll get to find out with the first “Monday Night Football” game of the year when the Vikings play the Packers in Green Bay. What would be better than having the former backup and current starter lead his team to a win against the Hall of Famer Green Bay didn’t want? Seems to me that it would be exactly what the franchise would need.

The big obstacle here ... Rodgers couldn’t beat Favre for his job in an open competition and he can’t outplay him on the field in a game. So what’s the hold up? Let’s see how good Rodgers is. Maybe he has a great year and becomes a Pro Bowler. Maybe he falls on his face and the Packers are nowhere near the 13-3 they were during the 2007 regular season with Favre. The one thing we do know is that Green Bay wants nothing to do with Favre as their starting quarterback, so he should be released and allowed to play for anyone else in the NFL.

If we’re lucky, it will happen soon and the anticipation of what Favre will do will give way to anticipation of the first time he plays Rodgers and Green Bay.

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