Favre faces another challenge

Katrina rattles quarterback's family, home state

The dark cloud that has seemed to follow Brett Favre and his family recently blanketed his home state in the last two days in the form of the worst hurricane that has ever hit Mississippi. Needless to say, the Green Bay Packers' star quarterback has not been totally focused on football in the last 48 hours.

As Hurricane Katrina ripped through the South, destroying and swamping most everything in site from Louisiana to Florida, Favre has been worried about his family. The eye of the deadly hurricane blew through Mississippi's Hancock County, where Favre was born and raised and where most of his relatives reside. His main residence is near Hattiesburg, about 60 miles north of his mother's house in Kiln, Miss.

"In my gut I feel like they are OK, but with each minute that passes, I begin to wonder," Favre told reporters today. "This is one of those situations where I would love to do whatever I could to help, as would a lot of people, but I don't even know where to start. It's tough to focus on anything right now because I'm very concerned."

In the last couple of years, Favre and his family have faced some major distractions. His wife, Deanna, was diagnosed with breast cancer last fall, about the same time that Deanna's brother was killed in an ATV accident. Last December, Favre's friend and former teammate Reggie White suddenly passed away. About a year earlier, Favre's father, Irvin, died of a heart-attack. Now, Favre can only hope that his mother, brothers, grandmother and others are safe.

"I found myself the last 24 hours a couple times saying, ‘Why me?'" Favre said. "Not that I had wished the hurricane would hit somewhere else because it is devastating to anyone else, too. Of all the places … right there. As quickly as that thought pops into my head, and it pops into my head more than I would like for it to, I try to remind myself of the things to be thankful for, which there are a lot. To get to do what I do – play football for the Green Bay Packers – is a wonderful honor. I am very much appreciative of that. As I've said before, to have tragedies in my life is no different than anyone else. It's just that mine are on TV and in the papers and things like that. At times, it's a little embarrassing and it's a little unfair to other people who suffer the same hardships. It's like, ‘Who cares about them?' I try to remind myself of those people, and there are people down there right now who don't have the means that me and my family have. (People) that don't have money, or are not able rebuild, or rebuild as fast. Or live in 100-degree heat without air conditioning until next summer. I try to remind myself of that.

"At the present time, all I'm concerned about is the health of my family and everyone else. We'll worry about all the other things we'll deal with as they come.

"It is extremely difficult. Probably as difficult as any other time in my career because of the fact that I don't know and I can't do anything about it. I'm sure there are a lot more people out there who are concerned and just don't know. That's the tough part about it."

Deanna Favre and daughters Brittany and Breleigh weathered the storm in their Hattiesburg home. They invited Favre's mother Bonita and brothers, Scott and Jeff, and familes to Hattiesburg, but they declined. Favre said that his mother's house is on higher ground. It survived Hurricane Camille in 1969, but he has yet to hear from his brothers or mother because most forms of communication are down. Favre left a message for his brother Scott yesterday, but hasn't heard back from him.

"I've been able to contact my wife, and she said everything is fine as far as the extent of damage. But I haven't been able to get in touch with Mom (Bonita Favre), my two brothers, grandmother … Most of my family members are down on the Gulf Coast."

"No one knows. No one can go in. No one can come out. There's no cell phones or land phones working. Half the county is under water, from what I understand. You're not seeing any feeds from TV because they can't get in there."

Favre said he plans to play in Green Bay's preseason finale Thursday night against the Tennessee Titans in Nashville. After the game, he plans on making his way to his home in Hattiesburg and possibly to Kiln, Miss., to see the rest of his family. The Packers will be off for three days following Thursday's game as the team determines its final roster.

The hurricane has presented Favre with another hurdle in the line of many that he plans to clear. He is hoping all will turn out well, but all he can do right now is hope and pray. If there is anyone who can deal with tragedies and play quarterback in the National Football League, it's Favre.

"My loyalty is obviously to this team and my family as well," Favre said. "In times like this, I have tried to focus. I've felt like if you can focus and give it your best in these situations, then if you're down to Minnesota in the third quarter, I can always say, ‘It's been a hell of a lot worse.' Trying to find the bright side of this right now is pretty difficult."

Todd Korth

Note: Todd Korth is managing editor of PackerReport.com and Packer Report. E-mail him at packrepted@aol.com.

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