It's Monday afternoon in Hattiesburg, Miss. A phone rings by what the Favre family likes to call the "cement pond." A manservant wearing a tuxedo T-shirt forwards the call to Brett Favre's gold-plated tractor phone.
Favre hears a gravelly voice say:
"Mr. Favre? May I call you Mr. Favre? It's Brad. Bald guy, trying to grow a beard just like yours? Mr. Favre, I've been calling you every day for two years, you should remember me by now. Yeah, it's 'Chili.' My first name is Brad.
"Anyway, Mr. Favre, I think our two-year plan has worked perfectly. Now it's time to make our move.
"We found a way for you to avoid going to training camp and sleeping in those cramped dorm rooms and practicing twice a day in that brutal Mankato heat. I know, living in Mississippi, you wouldn't be able to withstand that heat. And I know, after you built your own Presidential Suite near the Jets' locker room last year, that you didn't want to be put in a situation where you might have to meet your teammates.
"Now training camp is done, and you can finally move into that house you bought up here. Brilliant idea, buying Prince's place in Chanhassen. Who's going to notice another reclusive celebrity wearing purple in that neighborhood? Mr. Favre, I also liked your smoke screen, sending relatives up here to buy houses and condos all over town, just to throw people off. Brilliant. I could learn a lot from you. When I want to confuse somebody, I just talk in circles until their eyes glaze over.
"Yes, Mr. Favre, I know you're busy mowing the back 40, and I know the 'My Name is Earl' marathon is about to begin. I'll get to the point. It's time to bring you in. Anybody who didn't like the idea of signing you has had a few weeks to watch Tarvaris Jackson and Sage Rosenfels. They have to be on board with this now. All we have to do is concoct the right story, so it won't look like we've been planning for this day ever since you left the Packers, even though we've been planning for this day ever since you left the Packers.
"Thank goodness you were such a pain in the butt in New York that the Jets traded up to get Mark Sanchez and then cut you loose. You played that just right.
"I also like your idea about having arm surgery so you wouldn't have to come to training camp. Wait, you're going to tell them what? That you still have a tear in your rotator cuff? Isn't that going overboard? OK, OK, you're the boss. Man, sounds like you want to win an Oscar as much as you want to win a Super Bowl.
"So we'll send Zygi Wilf's plane for you in the morning. Z-y-g-i. The one who looks like Groucho Marx. Yeah, that's the owner. No, don't worry, you won't have to talk to him, either. We'll just make him stand in the back at the press conference.
"We'll fly you up here in the morning, conduct our 'physical' -- don't worry, we have a stunt double they can examine if you're not up for it -- and then we'll hand you the blank check and get you on the practice field.
"Yes, the practice field. Please? Pretty please? Listen, I'm going to have a hard enough time with my veterans after letting you skip training camp. You've got to go out there and throw a few passes, just so I can pretend I'm still calling the shots. Thank you, Mr. Favre, I appreciate it.
"Listen, Mr. Favre, you're going to have to be sensitive to my predicament. I always tell the players that training camp is important, that details are important, that learning the playbook is important, that cohesiveness and protecting the ball and making smart decisions are all important. You're going to have to at least to pretend to care about all that, even if we both know you're going to be drawing up your own plays in the huddle and throwing into triple coverage whenever you darn well please.
"Also, we're going to have to do one of those awkward press conference things Tuesday. I'll get up there and act like you're just another guy -- I know, I'll call you a "piece of the puzzle." You should dress down -- maybe wear what you wear when you're throwing to those high school kids in Mississippi. That's right, the sweaty golf cap and cargo shorts. That way fans will think you're just like them, even though they can't make their mortgage payments and you could buy Kuwait.
"We'd like you to say that this isn't about getting revenge on the Packers -- I know, Mr. Favre, but sometimes in this job we have to twist the truth until it looks like a salted pretzel. We would like you to mention your family. Maybe say that your daughter really wanted you to come back and win another Super Bowl. If you can throw in some tears -- yours, hers, whatever -- that would give the TV people a sound bite they'll play forever.
"And remember the story we agreed on two years ago: You really couldn't decide whether you wanted to play or not, and you kept working out and throwing at Oak Grove High because you just love working with kids. The TV people will eat that up, too.
"So remember your checklist: Sweaty ball cap, cargo shorts, beard, daughter, my first name is Brad, not about revenge, you're a team player. Most important, remember, I just called you the other day to see if I could change your mind, and you just so happened to be waiting by the tractor phone, ready to roll.
"I know, I know, it's really far-fetched, but you have to understand Minnesota. These people will believe just about anything. I mean, when I was hired, these fans thought I was a passing guru.
"You don't have to laugh that hard.
"Oh, and one more thing, Mr. Favre. Please, please, please, during the press conference, don't call me 'Chili.' People might get the wrong impression."