Hello, Aaron Rodgers! It's your agent, Joey Slick. Pick up the phone. You can't stay in your room forever. Sept. 8 is only seven weeks away, and you know what that means — it's your debut as the starting quarterback for the Green Bay Packers.

Cheer up. It's not like there's going to be any pressure. Well, other than the fact that you're replacing HIM. Brett Favre is such a big deal that radio host Dan Patrick said the number "4" should be renamed "Favre."

Not only should they retire "four" as a jersey number, they should retire it, period. Foursquare will have to be called 2 x 2 square. We count "one, two, three, favre, five ... ." From now on, when someone hits 4 on the roulette wheel, the dealer yells, "favre!" If you hit an errant shot on the golf course, we yell "SIX!" even though technically it's "fore," not "four."

But you're No. 12, so don't worry about it. There's no pressure. OK, so they're going to retire the No. 4 jersey — excuse me, the No. favre jersey — during the season opener. Big deal. They retire jerseys all the time. Why, only 28 years ago they retired the last one — Ray Nitschke's No. 66. Tell you what: We'll just keep you in a sound-proof booth in the locker room until it's finished. You'll never know it happened.

Aaron, you've been waiting more than three years for your first start, and now that Iron Man is done — sort of — you've got your chance. Just because no other quarterback has started for the Packers since 1992 — 275 straight games — doesn't mean all eyes will be on you. OK, well, maybe it does, but don't think about it. Don't think about the TV audience and the fans and the cameras and the buildup to the game and all the questions afterward and the fact that you're quarterbacking a good team with high expectations. Just forget I said it.

Sure, you've thrown only 59 passes in your NFL career and whatshisname has thrown almost 9,000, but you've got to start somewhere, kid. This is your time, and maybe someday all those people in the crowd who are wearing No. Favre jerseys will be wearing No. 12. We'll turn this into Mister Rodgers' neighborhood. And monkeys might fly out your derriere, too! Ha-ha! Hey, I'm kidding to break the tension!

Yeah, I know it's not easy to replace a legend. Remember Marty Domres, Richard Todd, Danny White, Cliff Stoudt, Jay Fiedler, Brian Griese? Well, neither does anyone else. Those guys respectively replaced Johnny U., Joe Namath, Roger Staubach, Terry Bradshaw, Dan Marino and John Elway. They all flopped, but I'm sure you won't. Well, I'm pretty sure you won't. Reasonably sure, anyway.

If it makes you feel any better, the Colts, Jets, Dolphins and Broncos still haven't found replacements for their legends, and now those legends are getting senior discounts at Sizzler. Oh, that doesn't make you feel better?

You can do this, Aaron. You've waited for this day. You've been jerked around like a yo-yo. Every off-season Mister Favre pulls a Michael Jordan and hints about retirement, only to return. This season he actually retired. Then he wanted to unretire. But, wait, then he wanted to un-unretire. Now, he wants to come back again. Just retire already, I say.

Now we've got the messiest breakup since Brad and Jen. The Packers are holding the line: They're giving the job to you. They want Favre to stay retired, but if he insists on returning, they said he'll have to be your backup. Great! That'll be like having your dad in the passenger seat the first time you take the car out for a spin.

It was bad enough following a retired legend. Now he wants to return. Now we've got Packer fans holding rallies for Favre's return to the team. Not that there's any pressure. You'll just have to play like Joe Montana on his best day, every game. The first time you make a mistake, the first time your shoe comes untied, the first time you have a hangnail, you're outta there.

Can you hear me, kid?

How weird is this? The Packers' "second-string" quarterback is so good that the Packers don't want him to play for another team because he might beat them, and yet they don't want to give him their starting job.

Of course, maybe Favre will get his wish to be released and sign with another team, but that won't help. That will make you the guy who put him in another uniform, and that's just too strange to imagine.

Kid, do yourself a favor: Offer the job back to Favre. You'll be a hero. It's the only way you can really win. You can wait another year. Favre brought this on himself — but you're the one who will pay for it.


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