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By Jerry Gilbert 3/10/05

The palace guards are gone along with the leader of the defense forces, yet the Prince returns. Am I striving to be too literary for a sports fan website? Maintain perspective. I am extremely happy right now. The emotional and physical leader of the Green Bay Packers, Quarterback Brett Favre, agreed this afternoon to return for one year, and barring a health issue, perhaps few more.

It was not a foregone conclusion that he would return. For all his success, Favre, who is committed to another Super Bowl campaign, has personally stunk up the field in his last losing playoff games. There had to be doubt in his mind whether he can still excel in the post season. Further doubts must have arisen as his friends and on-field protectors, Marco Rivera and Mike Wahle, have left Green Bay for Dallas and Carolina respectively. Brett Favre at age 35, is getting a little old to stand behind anything less than a group of quality offensive linemen. Darren Sharper, a leader on Green Bay's porous defense and a long time teammate of the Packer quarterback, was also certain to be goneit actually happened today within hours of the Favre decision.

More important than any of these issues is the matter of Brett's family.His daughter is pursuing her own athletic career back home in Mississippi, and his wife Deanna is facing breast cancer. Financially secure, and a certain hall of famer in his chosen profession, Brett Favre had nearly every reason to quit football and stay home with his family.

In spite of it all, Number 4 has agreed to put on his helmet and stand up to defensive linemen for another season. He loves the game of football; he loves the locker room, and he has a few more hills to climb as a competitor.

Is there anything else? Does Brett's return tell us anything? The man who plays quarterback probably knows as much about the players on his team as would any of the coacheshe certainly knows more about those individuals than I do. He knows that the two starting guards are gone, but he also knows Steve Morley, Mike Wells and the other players who remain. Maybe he has reason to believe that his guards are not indispensable. Others have bent over in front of him before, and Brett Favre has always excelled.

Mostly, Favre's decision shows a faith and trust in General Manager Ted Thomson, Coach Mike Sherman and their staffs. By announcing a decision today, Favre told us all that he has faith in the leadership of the Packers. He could have waited; he could have held back until a veteran or two is added, or even until the draft, but he didn't. He came back to the Packers at a time when all their player movement has been toward the exits and not one single lost player has been replaced. He came back to a situation with more questions than answers. He came back because he has faith in the Green Bay Packers.

And with the return of Brett Favre, one of those questions has been answered. We know who will line up at quarterback on Sunday.


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