By Steve Czaban Special to Published Jul 23, 2008 at 5:19 AM

The NFL's "calm before the storm" is upon us.

Here in the depths of July, just before the first weekend of pre-season games, you can almost smell the September pigskin already.

You start to see more ads for Fantasy Football. There are more and more preview magazines on the shelves at Borders. You start flipping the channel to the 212 -- NFL Network -- more often to see what you might be missing.

(Usually at this time, nothing. But you still check!)

It is a last chance for teams to tweak rosters before they launch into the season. The Jason Taylor era is officially over in Miami. Jeremy Shockey can be somebody else's high-maintenance headache.

And, the Packers better damn well figure out an "end game" Brett Favre's jackknifed and overturned "non-retirement" scenario.

For the record, the Packers have no choice here. None. They MUST bring him back with open arms. Period. You cannot thumb the eye of the football gods by REALLY saying, "No, no, we're good with Aaron Rodgers" this year.

I mean, you can, but you are taking one helluva roll of the karmic dice. Do you really want to live through 20 years of not making the Super Bowl, with the thought that if Ted Thompson and Mike McCarthy had just swallowed their pride, you might have banked another Lombardi Trophy?

I wouldn't. I'd cave to the guy and go home and punch a hole in my wall if it makes me feel better. Make no mistake: the Packers are completely in the right. They won this one on merit. They begged him to roll for one more season. He said he just couldn't do it. They begged him to wait a little while. He said, "No I'm done." They even were ready to undo his retirement a few weeks after the fact with a rescue mission to pull him off the mower in Mississippi.

He called that off, too.

The Packers are right for moving on without Favre. The Packers are right in drafting two more quarterbacks. The Packers are right for saying Rodgers deserves his chance. But guess what? Just being right doesn't mean you always win. Try marriage sometime, you'll understand.

Like a girlfriend you thought you would never be without -- even if you have had the break up fight to end all fights. And, even if you are totally moved out of her apartment. If she says, "Let's give it one more try," you go through the hassle of pulling the furniture out of storage and move back in.

Why? Because you can always break up with her again later.

If Favre comes back and is good again, you'll say to yourself, "Cripes! And to think we almost didn't have this kind of season because Ted Thompson's shorts were in a bunch! Were we insane?"

If Favre stays retired, and the porcelain backup gets smashed to bits in Week 5, you'll be mad enough to punch a blocking dummy onto injured reserve.

The downside? Minimal. Favre is bad, or gets hurt and Rodgers gets his way by pouting his way out of town.

To me, it's a no-brainer.

This whole thing bears an eerie sort of resemblance to what happened when the Bulls Dynasty unraveled. Phil Jackson got bum-rushed out of town. Jordan was given the cold shoulder into retirement. Pippen was sent packing to the Rockets. General manager Jerry Krause let slip with the management hubris that precipitated it all.

"Players and coaches don't win championships, organizations win championships."

The Bulls haven't been back to the Eastern Conference Finals, let alone the NBA Finals, since.

Favre has run your team around in circles on this one, made you look foolish or dishonest, toyed with the emotions of millions of Packer fans, and wasted many, many hours of ESPN's airtime.

So what? The man says he wants to play. Swallow it, and get out of the damn way.

Steve Czaban Special to

Steve is a native Washingtonian and has worked in sports talk radio for the last 11 years. He worked at WTEM in 1993 anchoring Team Tickers before he took a full time job with national radio network One-on-One Sports.

A graduate of UC Santa Barbara, Steve has worked for WFNZ in Charlotte where his afternoon show was named "Best Radio Show." Steve continues to serve as a sports personality for WLZR in Milwaukee and does fill-in hosting for Fox Sports Radio.