Never doubt Brett Favre

This off-season I was driving in my car, listening to sports talk radio when the subject of Brett Favre skipping minicamps came up. The national show I was listening too was criticizing Favre for not attending the camps, despite not knowing what really was going on. These days, everybody criticizes people for things without knowing the entire story.

That seems to be the way sports talk radio has gone – be negative or get off the air.

Following the Packers as close as I do, obviously I knew there was more to this, but these morons on the radio wouldn't have any of it when anybody defending Favre called in. Fast-forward to today, and what have we learned?

Two things: Don't doubt Favre and don't take what you hear on radio as gospel. Take it as entertainment and nothing else.

Favre entered training camp looking maybe better than ever. He's almost down 10 pounds and he's still flinging the football like he always has, making you think his 30 TD passes and 4,000 passing yards last season can be matched or surpassed this season.

Favre took the time off this off-season to spend time with his wife, Deanna, who was recovering from a bout with breast cancer. Should anybody criticize this? Lets see, what's more important, a minicamp or my wife's life?

And when he wasn't caring for Deanna, Favre was working out under the tutelage of a trainer named Ken Croener. When Favre talked about these workouts, I came to the conclusion Favre didn't take the easy way out this summer – as some suggested – he dedicated himself like he hasn't in recent memory in order to make 2005 memorable.

"There were days when I was hoping Ken would come down with the flu," Favre quipped. "I am probably as proud of the fact I was willing to ask for help."

Favre maybe knows deep inside how he goes this season, the Packers go. The defense is – I'll be kind – a work in progress, so the offense, just like last year, will have to shoulder the burden.

Favre's approach to 2005 couldn't have been pulled off 10 years ago, when he was up and coming, and yet to be an MVP or lead his team to a Super Bowl. But he's earned the right to make this type of call.

If there's anything we've learned about Favre over the years, he's always trying to do what's best for the team. How else do you explain some of his throws which turn into easy interceptions? He doesn't give up, which is why he doesn't throw a ball away.

What about him starting more than 200 straight games in his career?

What about him playing with a broken thumb or a badly sprained ankle that was purple?

What about his never-ending positive thinking of his team's chances of reaching the Super Bowl every season?

"Age is working against me as it works against everyone," Favre said. "In my profession, if you can help it, you can't afford to be slow."

By foot, Favre has slowed down, but he's not a statue like Drew Bledsoe. Favre still can get out of the way of pass rushers and find a receiver 30 yards downfield for a TD.

He still has all the talent to take a team to the Super Bowl, but he knows with his career coming to a close, he needs to do everything he can now to give the Packers one last shot. If he didn't, he wouldn't be able to live with himself.

When asked if 2005 will be it, Favre predictably says, "This year may be it. It may be two years down the road. For the last seven years, we've been talking about when I was leaving. So I don't know."

Nobody knows, but one thing we all know – never doubt Brett Favre.

Doug Ritchay

Editor's note: Doug Ritchay is a longtime sportswriter and former Packers beat writer for the Green Bay News-Chronicle. E-mail at

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