Shutdown Corner - NFL

Brett Favre(notes) sounded tired, and it was only his first day back on the job.

In his press conference on Wednesday afternoon in Minnesota, Favre sounded like a man whose decision to return to football was made for him. Whereas in the past three years there was always the underlying feeling that Favre's return to training camp was the end of a long ruse, this time felt different.

Shutdown Corner watched his return press conference and picked out the seven most revealing quotes about the motivation of his return:

7. "There's nothing left for me to prove. I'm here to have fun."

He constantly reiterated that he had nothing left to prove by returning to football, a self-fulfilling prophecy if there ever was one. That was a response to a question nobody asked. I don't think people have ever believed Favre has something to prove. Why the defense mechanism?

As for the "I'm here to have fun," line; did John Madden write this speech? The funny part is that Favre delivered the line without a trace of humor or irony. It was just one of a dozen or so lines that suggest he has little sense of self-awareness about his "Hamlet in a helmet" routine.

6. "I was even amazed [at how I played last year]. To think that I could surpass that this year? First of all, I don't need to. Because as well as I've played, by far the best I've ever played in my career, it wasn't enough ... Part of me said, it was such a great year, it would be easy to say, you can't play any better, why even try?"

Favres' presser was a lesson in expectation management 101. Whether it's because he believes he won't be as good as last year or because he wants to cover himself in case he's not doesn't matter.

5. "My wife always says I look at things negatively more than I should."

One gets the impression that Deanna wasn't as on board with this decision as she has been in the past. Favre also mentioned that his family will be happy when he finally stops playing.

4. "No one is deserving or worthy of all the attention. Heck, I'm not."

If you buy that Favre believes he's not deserving or worthy of all the attention, then you probably were surprised that he's coming back to play.

3. "It really came down to when those guys [Hutchinson, Allen and Longwell] were like, 'hey if you can do us one favor.' Now that's a pretty big favor."

This was a recurring theme during the presser, Favre sounding like a man who came back to football not because he wanted to, but because it was expected of him. Was it all another act in the 40-year-old's ongoing melodrama, the one in which he plays the role of quarterback-turned-martyr, sacrificing his retirement for the good of the teammates he loves? Or had Favre set his sights on retirement, only to be pulled back in by a team who knew that the path to the Super Bowl couldn't be navigated by Tarvaris Jackson(notes)?

2. "People are making trips down to Hattiesburg and it was sincere stuff. The things I was hearing, the letters I was reading, the billboards I was passing, I just felt like I owe it to this organzation to give it one more try. I have no idea how it will pan out, but all I can promise you is that I'll give my best."

Favre actually had one more promise to make though ...

1. "I can promise you this, not that I had ever set out as a goal to play 20 years, but 20 years and I'm done. This is the last year of my contract."

Yes, he outdid himself and actually retired for 2011 minutes after declaring his intentions to play in 2010. (He's truly the Michelangelo of waffling.) But there was something different about the way he said it Wednesday. He seemed to be anticipating retirement, a sentiment you never got even after he faced the media following his crippling interception in the NFC championship.

For the first time I can remember, Favre's uncertainty seemed genuine. Up until Wednesday afternoon, I always knew Brett Favre wanted to play football. After his hour-long press conference, I'm not so sure.

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