Soul-searching for the gunslinger   

Updated: July 11, 2008, 3:33 PM ET

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Brett Favre has a major decision to make.

None of us can understand what he is going through right now. We can only watch and wait for that white plume of tractor smoke to be expelled from his modest Mississippi barn, signaling that the holy one has made his selection.

In hopes of expediting the process, I have scoured countless self-help and decision-making books, guides and Web sites for tips that could help the Packers legend make up his mind. Here are my 10 steps to help Mr. Favre reach 2008 Retirement Decision 2.0.

Step 1: Have a Strong State of Mind

You have long been celebrated for playing football with a childlike joy. That's great. But a decision of this importance must be made with a mature, clear mind. I have seen children drink from dog dishes. I have seen children walk into traffic without looking. I have seen children eat their boogers. All of which is to say: Children make poor decisions. Try to set aside your childlike nature as you weigh your future.

Step 2: Take Your Time

There isn't a linebacker bearing down on you, forcing you to decide in a split second whether to throw the ball into triple coverage across the middle or double coverage down the far sideline. This is your career you are pondering. Don't rush the decision. Week 1 of the NFL season is still two months away. And it would be fitting if Aaron Rodgers takes the field as the starter on Sept. 8, only to have you appear out of nowhere and tap him on the shoulder as he stands in the huddle before the first snap: "I'll take it from here, young man. Scram."

Plus, if you make your decision in the next few days, what are we in the media going to do between now and September? Provide thoughtful baseball analysis? Absurd!

Step 3: Seek Out Advice

The decision is ultimately yours, but it is often helpful to hear the opinions of those you trust. Be sure to seek out the counsel of more than one party so you can gain multiple perspectives. For example, ask both John Madden and Peter King if you should return.

Step 4: Make a List of Pros and Cons

To be clear: I am suggesting that you write down all the positives and negatives about each of your potential decisions. Since you are an NFL player, it would probably be easier to create a list of pros who are cons. But that's not what I mean.

Step 5: Weigh Your Alternatives

It's not a mystery why you are considering a return to the field: You love to compete. But you did retire. You cried and everything. Let's be honest: It would be kind of a jerk move to return now. Have you considered means other than football to fulfill your thirst for competition? For example, we have heard many times how you just love to ride your lawn tractor down there on your property in Mississippi. Well, have I got something for you: professional lawn mower racing! Wooooooo!

Step 6: Role Play

Test out your various options as best you can. How does your mower corner at high speeds? Do you look good in front of a camera? How do you feel in a Bears jersey? And be sure to role play in that order, because if you discover your mower corners poorly, you may be so cut up and disfigured that you can skip the second one entirely, thereby saving yourself some time. Step 7: Be Honest With Yourself

It is time for some honest soul-searching. Are you really going to be content not coming back, knowing you left some football on the field? Knowing you could take one more run at the Super Bowl? But on the other hand, do you really have the intestinal fortitude to go through all of this unbearable "Will he or won't he?" again next offseason? To cry more tears? To keep your team in endless limbo? Is your ego that big? Be brutally honest. (And if you are, your answers will be: no, no, yes, yes, yes, yes.)

Step 8: Communicate With Those Impacted

As stated, the decision is yours. However, it is polite to keep those who could be affected by your decision in the loop on how things are progressing. They have a right to know. You are not holding national security secrets. The Packers are merely a football team. It's OK to be open and honest if you are conflicted. They will likely understand what you are going through. So open a dialogue. Communicate. But by text messaging? Really? You are Brett Favre. Musk-drenched man among men. Hero to us all. Gunslinger extraordinaire. Your stubble has stubble. Text messaging? Is that what you resorted to when you discovered Ted Thompson didn't have a MySpace page?

Step 9: Determine the Consequences

It is a moral and philosophical debate, but most agree that a decision is unjust if another person is gravely harmed by its execution. So you must consider if a decision to return would hurt anyone. Actually, no -- forget that. If Aaron Rodgers had kindly gotten injured like you suggested months ago, none of this decision-making agony would be necessary right now. Screw that guy.

Step 10: JUST COME BACK ALREADY!

Never leave us, Brett! WE LOVE YOU!!!

DJ Gallo is the founder and sole writer of the sports satire site SportsPickle.com. He also is a regular contributor to ESPN The Magazine and has written for The Onion and Cracked. His first book, "SportsPickle Presents: The View from the Upper Deck," is on sale now.


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