Played out

ROCH AROUND THE CLOCK

Trent Dilfer exits gracefully

Brett Favre should take notes

On retiring quarterbacks

July 11, 2008|By ROCH KUBATKO

So former Ravens quarterback Trent Dilfer announced his retirement yesterday. And we're supposed to believe him?

Maybe he'll stay true to his word. For that matter, Brett Favre might do the same. But I have my doubts.

Favre would quiet the speculation about his possible return this season if he'd stop texting Packers general manager Ted Thompson. He's like a teenage girl.

I'm waiting for Thompson to text back, "ROFLMAO," and then make plans to take in a movie. And rip on what the other GMs are wearing.

"Who does he think he's fooling with that sport coat? What a poser!"

Dilfer is done. At least for now. And likely forever. Not that I've sat down and had long talks with him, or taken long walks in the rain, but he doesn't strike me as a guy who's going to get the itch a year from now. Or in the next 20 minutes, as was the case with Favre.

It's got to be harder for a slam-dunk Hall of Famer to leave the game while he still has something left in the tank. But Dilfer will do it anyway. OK, seriously, we're talking about Favre here, and it's more likely that he felt pressured to "retire" after last season, with the Packers looking to go in another direction and finally give Aaron Rodgers a chance.

They invested a first-round pick in the kid back in 2005. Maybe it's a good idea to let him take a few snaps and see what he's got, see if a quarterback from the University of California can handle the mild changes in climate that he'll encounter in Wisconsin in late December.

Favre needs to accept that it's somebody else's turn, move to the next phase of his life - one that doesn't require eye black - and not induce dry heaves in Packers fans from the sight of him wearing another team's uniform. It wouldn't be quite the same as Johnny Unitas in Chargers powder blue, but only because Favre can still play. Unitas had nothing left, and it was torturous to watch him taking snaps and dropping back at that age, with his arm barely able to send a football 20 yards and his legs bent in more directions than a stretch of West Virginia road. Otherwise, it's every bit as disturbing and unsavory. Unitas should have retired a Baltimore Colt. The lightning bolt on his helmet looked unnatural, like Ted Nugent at a PETA rally. It was downright sinful to anyone who grew up in this area. And the last remaining images of Favre as a player shouldn't be colorized in shades of a different uniform.

It's much harder to associate Dilfer with one team. For us, he'll be the quarterback who directed the Ravens to their only Super Bowl. Or didn't screw it up, depending on how you view his tenure and talents.

(If nothing else, I'll forever be grateful that he bumped Tony Banks from under center. I'd seen enough of that guy to last me a lifetime.)

For everyone else, Dilfer was a Tampa Bay Buc. And a Raven. And Seattle Seahawk, and Cleveland Brown, and San Francisco 49er. He was a bit of a martyr, too, once the Ravens thanked him for all he had done for them in the 2000 season by replacing him with Elvis Grbac.

How were they supposed to know that they were getting the sequined-jumpsuit Elvis instead of the cool one?

Dilfer isn't going to Canton, Ohio, without a ticket or an invitation. He threw for 20,518 yards in his career, with 113 touchdowns and 129 interceptions. At times, he was as accurate as Jessica Simpson playing Final Jeopardy, but at least he was honest with himself. Right down to the end.

"We all know I'm not Joe Montana," he said after winning the Super Bowl.

He's also not Brett Favre. I'm convinced he's staying retired.

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