Favre analysis: It is what we thought it was

All the extraneous and sometimes erroneous reports surrounding Brett Favre can be drowned out by simple question: Is his biceps tendon going to allow him to play? Favre couldn't answer that question Monday night, but he did clear up some other tangential issues, leaving us with the same conclusion we had a month ago.

As much as different media outlets want to break news on the Brett Favre story, there still remain of couple of key unanswered questions.

Favre's appearance on the new HBO show, "Joe Buck Live," on Monday evening left one important question unanswered: Have there been any contract talks or agreements in principle?

But after more than 15 minutes of interview, the most important piece of information in determining if Favre will join the Vikings or not still needs time to be answered. Favre still needs time to recover from surgery to detach what had been a partially torn biceps tendon in his right (throwing) shoulder, a surgery he confirmed took place about 2½ weeks ago.

The story on the deadline for Favre? There was no deadline, Favre said. And Favre mentioned only a meeting with the Vikings' trainer, presumably their head athletic trainer, Eric Sugarman, and not a coach, as reported. That meeting on Sunday night was to discuss exercises and band work that Favre could use during his rehabilitation from shoulder surgery.

So, as much as the media has been trying to chronicle whatever piece of information or visual evidence it can about Favre, his potential return to the NFL likely will all come down to his health. Favre said renown surgeon Dr. James Andrews, who performed the surgery, informed the quarterback that it will be four or five weeks before he will know how successful the surgery was.

"He said more or less in four or five weeks you should know if it was completely successful. I can throw and I could throw before the surgery. But I couldn't throw – and that's what happened late in the year – I would throw it there and it would go (someplace else). Certain throws hurt," Favre said. "I would have a pain in my neck and it would go down my arm. When I left after the final game with the Jets, I knew I needed surgery and I didn't want to have it. I ended up having it. If it feels better, I'm rehabbing, doing what I need to do to get back in shape."

So, while the Vikings typically start talking about rookie contracts after the Fourth of July, that should be about the time they and Favre can make a decision on his ability to play. Clearly, he wants to play for the Vikings.

"That's all I've talked to, yeah. It makes perfect sense as far as coming back because it's an offense that I ran for 16 years. We talked about it prior to the show. I could teach the offense," Favre said. "It was tough going to New York last year because I was two weeks late, totally new offense for me. I thought, this won't be too bad. … We condensed it down to where I could at least call the plays, but it was like learning a foreign language."

Beyond the offense making sense, Favre agreed that having a superstar running back would be a plus.

"It's like the terminology with the offense, it makes a lot of sense because the pieces are in place. They do have a great running back; they have a great running game. If I go there, there is no guarantees. We all know that. I went through that last year with New York," he said. "I think every player should think he is a difference-maker. I think you have to believe that. But I think in that situation, understanding what is expected of you, knowing your team, know that as long we can run the ball and complete passes when needed, we should be pretty good."

It's worth emphasizing that Favre said "we" twice in that sentence, making it sound like he already thinks of himself as a Viking.

Favre said Vikings coach Brad Childress asked him to come to OTAs, not to participate but rather watch them. Favre thought would only create multiple media circuses.

"Coach Childress had asked if I would come to OTAs, not that I would have to participate and I totally understood that side of it. I chose not to. You can pick sides on this and I think both sides are right," Favre said. "He wanted me to be there to be part of the team and things like that, knowing that there would be no guarantee that my arm would be like it was before. I chose to stay away because I figured there would be a media frenzy if I was there and there would be a media frenzy if I couldn't play, if we had to say three weeks later, ‘You know, his arm is just not up to par and he can't play.' So why not just have one media frenzy and that be later on. It wasn't anything to do with practicing or anything like. It's either all or nothing to me."

The final decision likely will come down to one simple fact: Will Favre's surgically repaired shoulder allow it. It's the same drum that has been beating since he received his release from the New York Jets the week after the 2009 NFL Draft. It's just that some people have preferred to go looking for another drum to beat when there was and still is that one powerful beat that will go on for a couple of weeks until the full extent of his recovery from surgery can be determined.

"I don't think, first and foremost, you can go anything past the arm. If that is not up to par when the time comes, then I can't play," Favre said. "I went through it last year and, yeah, I gutted it out or whatever, but it affected me and it affected our team and I don't want to do that again. And I won't do it again. That was why I went ahead and had the surgery. I didn't want to wait for this tendon to pop or whatever and be midseason – then it's too late. I had the procedure done and as I rehab and continue to throw and things, and if it ever gets to the point where it feels like it did before it started hurting, the biggest question mark is out of the way."

Until then, all other details will be largely inconsequential.

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