Favre 2009: The story continues

Every time there seems to be a peaceful lull in the Brett Favre story, another twist to the plot emerges. No, Vikings fans, you just can't get away from Brett Favre this summer.

"Just when I thought I was out…they pull me back in."

No, that wasn't a quote from Brett Favre or Brad Childress. It's from Michael Corleone in Godfather Part III, as the mob boss explains that, despite his best efforts, he's been sucked back into the whirlpool of questions and problems associated with his business. You get the impression that there are too many similarities between the Favre saga and the mafia don's pull back into "the life."

Sunday night the latest round of rumors, innuendo and speculation on Favre becoming a Viking took another turn, as ESPN reported that Favre had the surgery needed to repair (or, more accurately, detach) his partially torn right biceps tendon.

Two of the network's more venerable reporters – Chris Mortensen and Ed Werder – reported that Favre had the surgical procedure last month under the cloak of secrecy and is currently waiting for the rehab process to take hold and, with any luck, be healed by the time training camp opens.

Then on Monday, according to ESPN, Vikings coach Brad Childress told Favre that he had to decide this week whether he wants to play a 19th professional season or stay retired. That would at least get Favre in a Vikings uniform before the coaches take their summer vacations, though Favre almost certainly would not practice until training camp.

Last week, Favre's agent, Bus Cook, told The Associated Press that Favre was still retired. But he went on to add, as if trying to push the Vikings to make a move: "I would think they would pull out all the stops if they want to get the guy. I think Brett Favre just brings a whole new ballgame to any ballclub. That's no reflection on the guys that are on their team at quarterback right now, but Brett's in a different league than most."

This story has been on and off for the last month-and-a-half, as the Favre-to-Minnesota rumors have run rampant. Throughout, there has been no confirmation from Favre's side. In fact, Cook has been the equivalent to Sgt. Shultz from "Hogan's Heroes," claiming to see nothing and know nothing about Favre's impending return.

As recently as late last week, Cook said he knows of nothing that has changed with Favre's status and, as far as Cook is concerned, he remains retired. The Vikings have maintained a similar cone of silence, with Childress saying only that the team would always be interested in potentially adding a Hall of Fame free agent to roster.

The story had cooled off in recent weeks, as the tendon issue seemed to be the final (and perhaps largest) stumbling block between Favre and a return to the NFL. It was believed that Favre was unwilling to have the minor surgery required to release the partially torn tendon in his throwing shoulder. Without that, many felt he would remain retired, since he wouldn't have his full arm strength. The news that Favre has had the surgery (or at least that is what is being reported), will likely kick the story not only back on the front burner, but into hyperdrive.

What makes this story so compelling and bizarre is the complete lack of information of people going on the record. News crews have staked out Winter Park. They've camped outside Favre's Mississippi home. Rumors of secret meetings, the mailing of X-rays, meetings with doctors and late-night phone calls have turned the story from one of a potential free-agent signing to a "whodunit?" in which Childress and Favre have become shadowy figures trying to solve a mystery.

The story has once again taken a big leap forward with the latest news, adding the pile of evidence pointing to a Favre return to the NFL – and almost assuredly to the Vikings. Why would he ask for his release from the Jets if he planned to stay retired? Why would Childress plan a meet-and-greet in Mississippi if he wasn't interested in signing him? Why would Favre have the surgery if he wasn't planning to return to the NFL? The answer to those questions all seem to point directly at a Favre return to the NFL and into the welcome arms of the Vikings.

As usual, there is no official confirmation from the Favre camp, but one thing would appear to be certain – this story isn't going away and every time Vikings fans think they're out, this story once again is pulling them back in.

Stay tuned for the next exciting episode – same Brett time, same Brett channel.

John Holler writes for Viking Update; Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report.

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