Brett Favre officially in Purple for 2010 [UPDATEx2]
Now it's official. Nearly a year to the day of Brett Favre's dramatic arrival in the Twin Cities last season, the three-time MVP flew back to the T.C. Tuesday in full-on heroic fashion. Shortly thereafter, he was in Edina to take a physical.
On Wednesday moring, the quarterback participated in Vikings practice. Following the practice, Favre confirmed his return, appearing at his official press conference donning a (clean) Vikings cap upon grayed head.
Saying he "can't complain" about the condition of his body and adding that his arm "feels great" Favre said that even he "was amazed" about his performance of '09. Further discussing his health, Favre said regarding the status of his surgically-repaired ankle that "there was a little pain there."
Per the Vikings return to the form of last season, Favre spoke of his drive to "find that magic again," which led to his decision to give football "one more try." Repeating the phrase, he added that he owed it to the organization to give it "one more try."
"The most important thing in all of this is wins and losses," Favre said. "I can promise you this," he added, no doubt to the smirks of a few. "20 years, and I'm done."
Although contract details were not mentioned at the press conference, it's believed that Favre could now receive upwards of $20 million for the year. He was scheduled to make the latter portion ($13 mil) of the two-year $25 million contract he signed last August.
To watch the press conference in full, please click here.
The media circus started rolling Tuesday when we all learned that the Vikings' Ryan Longwell, Jared Allen and Steve Hutchinson were healthy absences from practice and team meetings. Reports went on to note that the trio traveled to Favre's home of Hattiesburg, Miss. on a Monday recon mission in hope of luring the soon-to-be 41-year old back for a 20th NFL campaign.
Earlier this month, Favre created a stir when it was reported that his surgically repaired left ankle wasn't responding to his satisfaction and had him leaning toward retirement. However, the quarterback never filed retirement papers with the league and (surprise) contradictory reports (between the fickle Favre and steady Strib writers) ensued regarding whether the waffler actually informed Viking teammates and officials of his leanings.
The day following the rumors, ESPN.com reported:
"Favre told ESPN that he has decided to play for Minnesota in 2010 if his surgically repaired ankle heals but said the fact he has not been able to decide his future reflects his level of concern about regaining his health."
Favre's agent Bus Cook then stated to the NFL Network that:
"As far as Brett is concerned, in spite of reports to the contrary, Brett's situation has nothing to do with his contract, but everything to do with his health and ability to contribute to that team and play at a level that he has been accustomed to playing over the years."
Last week, Favre revisited his surgeon, the noted Dr. James Andrews, for follow-up evaluation. Today's news is the first evidence that said visit evoked a sound check-up.
In the graybeard's 19th NFL season in '09, he enjoyed one of the finest campaigns of his eventual Hall of Fame career. In leading the Purple to just their second 12 win season since 1975, the QB posted career-bests in passer rating (107.2) and completion percentage (68.4) while tossing the fewest picks (7) of his storied career.
Favre will have his work cut out for in 2010. Aside from the loss of valuable back Chester Taylor, the Vikings face the league's 14th toughest schedule this season and will be contending in a revamped NFC North that looks to find the Purple in a dogfight with Green Bay. In addition: both Chicago (Taylor's new outfit) and Detroit improved readily in the off-season and appear certain to improve upon the seven and two win '09 seasons, respectively.
Favre now has 22 days to prep to face some fresh demons. The Vikings begin the season in earnest in their
NFL season-opening showdown with the Super Bowl Champion New Orleans Saints on Thursday, September the 9th.
The Vikings' second preseason game is this Sunday night (7 p.m.) in San Francisco. Last weekend, the Purple found victory in their exhibition opener against lowly St. Louis, winning 28-7 behind Sage Rosenfels' 310 passing yards and three TD's. It's not yet known whether Favre will suit up this Sunday, although it's worthy of note that he did play in last year's second preseason contest against K.C., which occurred three days after his arrival with the team. When asked at his presser if he'd appear against the 49ers, Favre said "he'd like to."
For the gamblers, perhaps you got in on the Vikings' worsened championship odds when it appeared the quarterback would rather mow his lawn than return to the gridiron. With Favre back in tow, said rates will no doubt be whittled back toward the 5-to-1 range as there's no argument that the Vikings are far closer to a title contender with Favre at the helm than they are sporting either Tarvaris Jackson or Rosenfels.
Tuesday afternoon, Rosenfels told reporters:
"I know some teammates aren't here, but I don't know where they're at. That's not my business. My business is to come out here every day and get better at practice and make my teammates better around me. ... My mind hasn't been on that situation and I don't really talk to guys about it.
"Everyone wants to know their position in life: one a team, in a family, all those things. There's a business side to this game and there's an emotional side to this game. I'm going to try and keep both sides out of it as far as the way I'm playing."
Per teammates missing practice to coax Favre, Jackson said:
"Honestly, I really don't care. I feel like if my number is called I'll be ready and I'm going to continue to try and work hard and get better. That's all I can do. My teammates, that's their prerogative. I can't really control that. I'm just going to do my part."
While Favre's second season of missing training camp in Mankato and summer ritual (since '02) of deciding whether to return or retire has made him a more polarizing figure than ever -- there is nary an expert, scribe, peer, announcer, or fan that doesn't believe he'll make the Vikings a better team.
"Just Win Baby," as Al Davis coined. Never has the taut phrase proven more poignant for those doing their own waffle on deciding whether to despise the most disorganized narcissist in all of sport, or to just love watching Favre play and ignoring the crap, the conjecture, and the circus that surrounds his every offseason.
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