Allen sympathizes with Favre

STEVE MACFARLANE, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:30 AM ET

"I can still play."

The words are Damon Allen's, not Brett Favre's.

At 45 years old, the CFL's all-time passing leader still feels he has the ability.

Just no team.

Using his skills to help tutor some of the youngsters at Stampeders star Henry Burris' charity football camp yesterday at McMahon Stadium, Allen offered his view of the continuing Favre saga.

The former Toronto Argonauts pivot isn't looking to revive his own career, but he knows about all the questions that run through a player's head when his time as a pro is nearing its end.

"I always believed that two things occur when a player is contemplating retirement," said Allen, who has come to town for all four of Burris' all-star weekends.

"One is the passion. He leaves the game, he doesn't have the passion to go out there and play any more.

"Number two, maybe physically he can't do it anymore."

Both of those are currently in doubt in Favre's case.

His agent, Bus Cook, continues to claim he isn't sure if Favre is mentally ready for another season.

With reports X-rays of his right shoulder were sent to the Minnesota Vikings, his health is in question, too.

Coming out of retirement once already to play for the New York Jets last season, you get the feeling Favre won't go quietly. The passion is fading, but the competitive candle hasn't burnt out just yet.

Whether or not his body can take more abuse is now the biggest question.

"In my situation, I still had passion. Physically, I can still play," Allen said of his own thoughts before calling it a career. "I added a third (category) -- when they don't let you play anymore, then it's time to move on."

Laughing a little as he reflected on his demotion with the Argonauts in 2007, leading him to retirement after 23 CFL seasons, Allen sees the same writing on the wall for Favre.

But the Green Bay Packers great was too proud to become a backup and won't come out of retirement for a second time unless he's in the spotlight as a starter again.

"In Brett Favre's case, it started in Green Bay," said Allen. "They were telling him to move on.

"It's a youth movement going on in pro sports."

If Favre's shoulder holds up and the Vikings offer him a deal, Allen could see the 39-year-old giving it another go. Moving on to life after football wasn't as difficult for himself.

"I don't think it was difficult to step away from the game, really, due to the fact I've had a long career," said Allen. "If you have a full career, then I think it's so much easier to walk away and start to challenge yourself in another opportunity.

"It was time for me to venture into other things."

Watching Allen direct the youngsters on the turf at McMahon yesterday, you get the feeling he could have played a little longer if given the same opportunities Favre has received.

"I can still play," Allen said, a huge grin creeping across his face. "I choose not to."

Some day in the not-too-distant future, Favre may come to that same conclusion.

STEVE.MACFARLANE@SUNMEDIA.CA


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