Add another chapter to Favre's legend

"You think of Cal Ripken Jr. and what he did, and this is beyond that. I mean, the guy hasn't missed a game ever," says Matt Hasselbeck, who thought he'd start in place of Favre in a 2000 game against Indianapolis.

Certainly, neither Mike Holmgren nor Matt Hasselbeck will be surprised to see a certain No. 4 line up behind center to start tonight's Monday night game in Seattle.

Last week, for the sixth time in his career, Packers quarterback Brett Favre was unable to finish a game. He's listed as questionable on the injury report, but there's no question about this: Like he has done the previous five times, Favre will be back in the lineup tonight, making his 252nd consecutive start (including playoffs).

"I've seen him hurt worse than that," Holmgren said of the elbow injury that sidelined Favre last week.

Favre's legendary toughness became evident during his first season, 1992. The Philadelphia Eagles' Reggie White drilled Favre in the first quarter, separating his left shoulder. Favre stayed in the game and led the Packers to an upset win.

The first time he was knocked out of a game was in 1994 at Minnesota. He returned 11 days later, though, and led the Packers to a 33-6 victory in a teeth-chattering monsoon in Chicago on Halloween. The unforgettable play from that game was Favre dashing through the mud for a 33-yard touchdown run.

Favre was knocked out of a game at Minnesota in 1995, too. The injury was so bad that Holmgren told Favre to take the week off. On the Saturday before the game, though, Favre convinced Holmgren to let him play.

"I said, ‘If I'm looking out there and you're at risk or something, then I'm taking you out," Holmgren said last week. "We started him in the game, and he ended up throwing five touchdown passes. I mean, really, he couldn't move, and he played as fine a football game as he has."

To the tune of a season-high 336 yards and a team-record-tying number of touchdown passes.

Holmgren was in Seattle in 2000, but Hasselbeck was the backup quarterback when Favre injured his left foot in a 20-15 loss at Tampa Bay. Talk was, Favre would miss the next two games. Hasselbeck was told to get ready to start the next game, against powerful Indianapolis.

Hasselbeck was ready to start, but Favre wasn't ready to step aside. He made his 136th consecutive start, and ripped the Colts for 301 yards and two touchdowns in a 26-24 victory.

"He had a size-13 shoe on his left foot by game time, a size-15 on his right foot, and he got out there and played and was unbelievable," Hasselbeck told Seattle reporters last week. "He threw a touchdown underhand. It was just typical Brett Favre stuff."

Favre is 4-1 in his comeback games. He beat Miami in 2002 after leaving a victory over Washington with a sprained knee ligament. The only loss came in 2004. He was knocked out of a game against the Giants with a concussion — but not before he snuck back into the game for a play and threw a touchdown pass — but lost the next week to Tennessee.

When Washington's Jason Campbell made his first career start last week, he became the 199th quarterback to start an NFL game since Favre started his ironman streak 15 years ago. During that same period, the Chicago Bears have gone through 20 starters, and the league's other 31 teams have started 375 quarterbacks.

Favre will make his 232nd straight regular-season start tonight. That's double the 116-game streak held by the previous record holder, Ron Jaworski. Peyton Manning's in second place all-time with 138.

"It blows your mind," said Hasselbeck, who missed the last four games with a knee injury but will start tonight. "You think of Cal Ripken Jr. and what he did, and this is beyond that. I mean, the guy hasn't missed a game ever."

Lawrence is a regular contributor to PackerReport.com. Send comments to steve_lawrence_packers@yahoo.com.


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