Brett Favre is back and ready to lead his new team.
After signing with the Vikings on Tuesday morning, Favre made it onto the field for the early afternoon practice and immediately started getting used to his new teammates. He shook hands with Ben Leber, Chad Greenway and Steve Hutchinson for starters and eventually worked his way into throwing passes to his new receivers.
By the time the practice was done, Favre said it was old hat with an offense he has become very familiar with from his 16 seasons with the Green Bay Packers.
Vikings coach Brad Childress had been courting Favre for months, ever since his release from the New York Jets in late April. He had been waiting for a final answer from Favre, and even the quarterback said he thought it was over when he told Childress and defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier no thanks just before training camp.
But when Childress called again on Monday night to check on Favre's status, that answer changed, despite Favre and the team knowing he had a partially torn rotator cuff for some time before the torn biceps tendon. Favre said that wasn't discovered until his surgery on the tendon and that Dr. James Andrews told him if he had repaired the rotator cuff he might not be able to play this year or even next.
"That scared me," Favre said.
But he was reassured the rotator cuff wouldn't be an issue.
"My arm has felt, I shouldn't say 100 percent, but it feels pretty good," he said.
Favre said at times he was OK with his decision in late July to not play. But after he made the decision, his 10-year-old daughter started crying and said she wanted him to win another Super Bowl. Favre said he also talked to former teammates and coaches who agreed that he wouldn't have a better landing spot than the Vikings, who will surround him with the league's defending rushing champion in Adrian Peterson and a defense that finished first against the run in 2008.
No doubt a certain segment of America grew tired of the indecision, but he had a response to those people.
"Don't watch. Like my old roommate and center in Green Bay for a long time said – he's from Hoboken, N.J. and has a funny way of putting things – he said, ‘Dude, it's America. It happens all the time.' It is what it is," said Favre.
He said getting revenge on the Packers, who decided to move on without him after he announced his retirement last spring, wasn't part of his motivation to come back.
"All I want to do is win. That's all I came back for is to win. There's nothing like it. For guys who have played this game, and sports in general, former players, guys in the latter part of their careers, they'll tell you it's tough. There's no substitute for playing on Sundays. You can't find that. That's what I'm here for." Favre said.
"I have no ill feelings towards (the Packers moving on)."
Favre took to the field on Monday afternoon with a circus atmosphere following him. At least one helicopter followed him and Childress from the airport in St. Paul to the Vikings' Winter Park practice facility. Childress joked that he should have had his son's white car to re-enact the O.J. Simpson car chase.
But when Favre hit the field for practice, it felt familiar to him, even if the jersey colors weren't.
He split first-team reps with Tarvaris Jackson and said getting used to his new teammates will be the biggest issue. It wasn't always smooth, but he appeared to be getting more and more comfortable with his throws as practice advanced.
"My expectations are high. This team is a good football team," he said. "I'm not going to sit here and make predictions. But I didn't come here to lose. I don't think any guy in that locker room is here to lose. I think we can be as good as we want to be. From the outside looking in or the inside looking in, it's no secret that this team is a good football team. They really are. I think the sky's the limit."
Favre projects a confident calm
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