If there is one thing we've learned in the last three months, it's this: Brett equals buzz.
Probably no unsigned player has generated as much interest for as long of a period as Brett Favre's dance with Vikings coaches since his release from the New York Jets three months ago. Throughout the process of his shoulder surgery and continuing workouts in Mississippi, fans were on edge in anticipation. Players and coaches were, too, offering their opinions locally and nationally.
In early June, Vikings coach Brad Childress called into KFAN radio and talked extensively about his interest in Favre, saying he wanted to see how much Favre had left in his "cannon" after surgery to complete a tear in his right biceps tendon. Even then, Childress wasn't in a hurry to get an answer.
"I am not that anxious. I am not going to lose any sleep or anything. I don't need mood elevators or anything like that. But you always would want to see that," he said.
But as the summer of speculation wore on, even former players who didn't have a stake in "Favre-a-palooza," as tight end Visanthe Shiancoe dubbed it, were tiring of the talk.
"Favre's 100 years old; stop this already," former Cowboys wide receiver Michael Irvin said, according to the Los Angeles Times. "This is what's killing everybody. Every time Favre says, ‘I want to come back,' it's like everybody on ESPN says, ‘Whatever team he says he wants to come to, he makes them automatically a Super Bowl contender.' They said that same stuff last year with the Jets, and Favre gave out toward the end of the season.
"I love Favre and I think he's been a phenomenal talent for a long time. But when I think about it now, I say, ‘Stop it already.' I don't mind that you still want to play football, but do you want to play so much, and you want to get back at (Green Bay general manager) Ted Thompson so much, that you're willing to go back into Lambeau and hurt those fans that supported you for so long?"
A Vikings alumnus had nearly as strong of an opinion, but Chuck Foreman wanted Favre in purple.
"We have everything in place, now we just got to get a guy to drive the bus. And once we get that, we'll be in good shape," Foreman said, according to Keloland TV in Sioux Falls, S.D. "Don't misunderstand me, our young guys are okay, I'm not saying they're not. But I'm saying with Brett Favre, you get the best."
Brian Billick, chatting on NFL.com on Tuesday when news of Favre staying retired broke, wasn't so sure that the "young guys" would be okay.
"The quarterback situation in Minnesota is going to be one of the most interesting storylines to watch early in the season," Billick wrote. "By bringing in Sage Rosenfels, they have a question about the abilities of Tarvaris Jackson.
"While Rosenfels has shown signs, he has yet to do it on a consistent basis. With a top running back and top run defense in the league, they don't need much from the quarterback. But I don't think Jackson or Rosenfels is going to be the answer."
Jackson is back in a competition for the starting role without Favre entering the picture. But Jackson might not need to visit the weight room as often to blow off some steam over the Favre possibilities.
"Sometimes I let a little steam off and go lift weights. That's any situation, not just the Favre thing. Stressing about something. Just find a way to get it off a little bit. My thing is just to go in the weight room, things like that," Jackson said.
The other quarterback still in the competition for a starting role, Sage Rosenfels, said Jackson handled the situation well.
"He's a very mentally tough guy. He's done a great job of handling it, I think. And for a young guy to handle it like he has, I think, is tremendous and speaks a lot about him," Rosenfels said after an offseason practice. "He and I are competing hard out here, and he's helping me out with some things, and I'm trying to help him a little bit, because at the end of the day it's about trying to make the Minnesota Vikings the best football team possible and bring this team as far as possible in the playoffs."
Throughout the process, Vikings owner Zygi Wilf was supportive of the pursuit of Favre, and he explained the reasoning in front of more than 1,000 fans at a State of the Vikings address in June.
"When somebody has that passion for football, as long as he has it, and the willingness to come back, you have to really look at that and see how they fit with your team," Wilf said. "Right now, it's all up to Brett Favre to determine where his future is at and we'll just leave it at that."
That determination has now been made. Favre won't be joining the Vikings, at least not anytime soon, leaving players to move on.
"It doesn't make sense to worry about things that are out of my control," star running back Adrian Peterson told Vikings.com on Tuesday. "My entire focus this offseason has been to recharge my body and prepare myself for the 2009 season. I am confident in every player we have on our roster and I believe our front office has done everything in its power to keep improving our team. Now, as players, it's our job to go out there and defend our division championship, get back to the playoffs and make a run at the Super Bowl."
Favre's decision ends a summer of speculation
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