Favre stands tall amid another crisis

When life deals one losing hand after another, what is needed is a place to escape. To get away from it all. <p> For Brett Favre, that means quarterbacking the Green Bay Packers. <p>

With his wife, Deanna, battling breast cancer, Favre has suffered yet another staggering blow during the last 10 months. Starting with his father's death in December, to his brother-in-law's death a few weeks to and a menagerie of injuries in between, it's not been the best of times for the league's only three-time MVP.

Sanctuary, therefore, has been standing tall in the face of 300-pound linemen gunning for his head.

"I enjoy playing the game," Favre said during his weekly news conference with reporters. "It's a way to take my mind off of, at least for a brief moment, some of the things in my personal life."

Favre's personal life took a couple hits this month. Three weeks ago, Favre's 24-year-old brother-in-law, Casey Tynes, was killed in an all-terrain-vehicle accident on the Favres' Mississippi property.

A week later, Deanna Favre, 35, was diagnosed with breast cancer. The news broke Monday, though she already has undergone a lumpectomy at the Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York and is on the grueling road to recovery.

According to Favre, Deanna is facing months of radiation treatments and chemotherapy to rid herself of the cancer, which she discovered during a self-exam. The "prognosis is good," he said.

"We're both doing a lot better, but initially I was doing a lot worse than she was," Favre said. "She's a lot tougher than I am, but she's hanging in there."

Favre certainly has been tough on the playing field. Amazingly, when his personal life looks bleakest, he plays his best. His game against Oakland the day after the death of his father, Irvin, is the stuff of legend. He left Green Bay for a day during the week leading up to the Detroit game and sparkled. He was even better Sunday against Dallas.

In the last two games, Favre has completed an astounding 71.6 percent of his passes for 515 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions. The Favre-led attack has tallied 72 points in those two games.

Not bad for a guy with so much trauma surrounding his life and so many aches and pains — the bruised hamstring against Indianapolis, the concussion against the Giants, the sprained hand against Dallas and the ongoing problem with his left shoulder — riddling his body.

How does he explain his ability to rise above all the negatives?

"I have no idea. None whatsoever," Favre said. "I take tremendous pride in what I do, always have. And I think in times like this, maybe I even take more."

Typical of the humble Favre, he says he doesn't consider himself anything special despite his propensity to shine brightest when things are at their darkest.

"Sometimes life is difficult and at some point we all have to go through — and have gone through — some difficult situations, and I'm not the only person who's had to deal with them and rise to the occasion," Favre said. "So I don't consider myself out of the ordinary."

Favre's retirement generally is a hot topic, and it doesn't take much to fan those flames. For Favre, however, retirement becomes less likely at times like these.

"Do I think about it? Sure," Favre said. "Especially during times like this, I think about it. But it seems like every time something happens people want to jump on the retirement bandwagon. And the more people ask me, the more I want to stick around just to stick it to 'em. But it will not, as I stand here before you today, it will not speed up the decision. Now a month from now, who knows?"

That doesn't mean Favre is keeping his family on the back burner. Deanna Favre will stay in Green Bay to receive her cancer treatment, and Favre vowed to be with her — like he did when he left town before the Detroit game — when needed.

"Whatever I have to do to support her and the kids, I'll do," he said. "Because football is very important, but it's not the most important thing. But the last two weeks, she's been like, ‘Hey, you go out and play and do your deal.' I would expect her to say that. I'd say the same thing. But I also want to be there for her."

While Favre's toughness is the stuff of legend, Packers coach Mike Sherman said his iron man quarterback may not even be the toughest person in the Favre household.

"He is a very resilient person, but I've got to be honest with you, everything that he has gone through, his wife has gone through and I'm not so sure who's the toughest one in that family," Sherman said. "He clearly is tough. But she has been there in support of him in every situation that he's been involved in. She's been a part of that. She's the unsung hero in that relationship. She's every bit as much a hero as he is in that family."

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