How a Packer fan copes with Brett Favre

Back in 1969, Elisabeth Kübler-Ross introduced the five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. As a long time Green Bay fan (starting with Packers teams that featured Lynn Dickey, Paul Ott Carruth, Eddie Lee Ivery and a host of other players with ridiculous-sounding games), I have firsthand experience with these five stages as I’ve dealt with Brett Favre and his annual retirement dance.

In the summer of 2008, when the news leaked that Favre was interested in unretiring, I argued that the Packers should bring him back. He was coming off a stellar season and I firmly believed that he gave Green Bay the best chance to win. At this point, I couldn’t comprehend that the Packers would choose to move on without Favre and this denial quickly turned to anger as I saw just how entrenched management was in that decision.

But I wasn’t aware of a crucial fact: Favre flirted with coming back earlier in the spring and then changed his mind when head coach Mike McCarthy and general manager Ted Thompson were prepared to fly to Mississippi to discuss it. At that point, I totally understood why the Packers said ‘enough is enough’ and made the decision to cut the cord once and for all. And I understand why Favre was upset that the organization didn’t welcome him back with open arms. After all, he is one of the most iconic players ever to play in the NFL and has to have an ego to match. I figured that if he couldn’t come back and play for the Packers, then he’d make the wise decision and hang ’em up, once and for all. This is the third stage of grief — bargaining.

Unfortunately, Favre’s anger towards the Packers quickly turned to spite as he tried to maneuver his way into either Chicago or Minnesota, the Packers’ two biggest rivals. It was obvious what was going on at the time — that Favre wanted to stick it to the Packers, specifically Ted Thompson, who made the final call (and was the one who drafted his successor) — and Favre confirmed this in a interview conducted a few months later. At this point, depression sunk in. I couldn’t believe that Brett Favre — my all-time favorite player and the guy that I would schedule my Sundays around — would risk the goodwill of the Packer faithful just to get revenge on those whom he believed wronged him. This spiteful behavior was just sad.

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NBA News & Rumors: Delonte, LeBron, JJ and Julian

Delonte West misses practice (unexcused) again. All right, one unexcused absence I can understand, but after he was MIA yesterday, wouldn’t the Cavs track him down to find out why he was absent? Of course they would, which is why he is either completely unreachable or the Cavs don’t approve of his reasons for missing practice. This is worrisome, but expect the team to give him a lot of leeway to get his life straightened out.

The New York Daily News thinks there has been another sign that LeBron is headed to the Knicks.
His name is William Wesley and apparently he has LeBron’s ear. He was at Knicks camp this week and some conspiracy theorists believe his presence is a sign that LeBron will be playing in New York next season.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that Joe Johnson will not sign an extension this season.
Instead, Johnson is going to become a free agent next summer when a number of teams are going to have the cap space to offer a max deal. After LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and (maybe) Amare Stoudemire, Johnson is the next biggest prize in the free agent class of 2010. He’s one of those players that isn’t quite worth a max deal but he’s going to get one anyway. (Think Michael Redd circa 2005.)

Byron Scott told the Times-Picayune that the Hornets’ starting small forward job is Julian Wright’s to lose.
This is about a year too late. Wright was quite productive (PER: 15.48) in his rookie season, but the Hornets went with James Posey instead, thinking that he’d be the missing piece to the championship puzzle. Wright is one of those young, talented players that is going to see a big increase in minutes, so fantasy basketball owners should take note.

Sam Bradford to return this week?

The Oklahoman reports that Sooners quarterback Sam Bradford split snaps with the first team in practice this week with redshirt freshman Landry Jones and might be ready to play Saturday against Miami.

Stoops still isn’t ready to announce whether Bradford will play Saturday at Miami, but said Bradford hasn’t had any setbacks in his recovery and wasn’t particularly sore Tuesday morning after throwing during Monday’s practice.

“That’s positive in that everything to this point that he has done he has handled in a positive way and he has made daily progress,” Stoops said. “That part is encouraging. But it’s just too early to determine his status for Saturday. I’m not able to give the answer yet, until we see what Sam’s capable of throughout the week. Is he able to make all the throws? Is he able to do it without too much soreness? How does he react the next day?

If Bradford plays on Saturday, it would signal a remarkable turnaround from where he was at a few weeks ago. Some were suggesting that his season was over and now he has a chance to play this week.

Hopefully Oklahoma isn’t rushing Bradford back onto the field too soon. I doubt Stoops would put the success of the team over the health of his player (or at least, I hope he wouldn’t), but if Bradford continues to progress throughout the week then there might be no reason for him to sit out.

Even though VA Tech shredded them on the ground last week, Miami has an aggressive front seven – one that could cause problems for Bradford if he’s rusty upon his return. It’ll be interesting to see how he progresses throughout the week and whether or not he’ll play against the Canes on Saturday.

Jose Reyes may need hamstring surgery

The New York Daily News is reporting that Mets shortstop Jose Reyes may need to have surgery to repair his injured right hamstring.

Jose Reyes looks like he may be headed for surgery on his ailing right hamstring tendon. He felt discomfort Tuesday while trying to run and is due to be examined this afternoon.

It goes without saying that the 2009 MLB season has been an utter disaster for Reyes and the Mets. The 26-year old shortstop played in only 36 games this season, finishing with a .279 batting average in 147 at bats.

The problem with hamstring surgery for athletes is that they may never return to their full pre-injury flexibility and explosiveness. So even if Reyes does have successful surgery in terms of the hamstring tear healing, it doesn’t mean that he’ll be the same player he was before the injury.

This will be an interesting situation to follow this winter.

The Wildcat: Just a new/old formation

The Washington Post asked me to participate in their NFL blog “The League” for the 2009 season. Below is a recent post I wrote for the site about whether or not the Wildcat is here to stay.

In a day and age of video games and fantasy football, it’s no wonder that a single formation can start a new craze.

The Wildcat is just a variation on the single-wing formation, yet based on the buzz it has received since last season, one would think that it’s the eighth wonder of the world. (The formation is actually one of the things featured in the new version of Madden.)

The idea behind the Wildcat is to play 11 on 11 football instead of 10 on 11, which occurs when the quarterback hands the ball off to his running back and then stands idle behind the play. It’s just one small advantage for the offense, which is why it has been effective at every level.

But this idea that the Wildcat is going to revolutionize the way NFL coordinators implement their offensive game plans is absurd. Most teams (including the Dolphins) use the formation in less than nine percent of their snaps on game day, which is a telltale sign that teams aren’t going to suddenly ditch the use of a drop back passer to line their running back up at quarterback on the majority of their plays.

Those that say the Wildcat is a gimmick or that it doesn’t have a place in the NFL haven’t been paying attention. It forces defenses to spend time throughout the week in practice specifically game planning against it and also adds the element of surprise on game day.

That said, football isn’t about one player, one coach or one formation. The Wildcat can be an effective tool, but there’s a reason why teams only use it sparingly: It’s just one formation in a NFL playbook.

To read the entire article, click here.

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