During the questioning, Favre said that the New York Jets and coach Eric Mangini, now head coach of the Cleveland Browns, knew about his torn biceps tendon prior to the 1-4 collapse at the end of the season and urged him to play through the pain.
Favre said that, while he has confident in his ability to run the system, his biggest hurdle at this point is getting his timing down with his receivers. As for the pain, he knows that 18 years in the NFL have taken a toll on his body and admitted that his delay in signing has left room for improvement.
"I'm not going to lie to you, I'm not physically or mentally 100 percent," Favre said. "I don't know at 39 if I'll ever be 100 percent physically. But as I've said numerous times, I feel real confident in the plays. There are plays that I've run here in the past. But how it pertains to Percy (Harvin), Sidney (Rice), Bernard (Berrian), Shank (Visanthe Shiancoe), those guys. One play that I've run 100, 1,000 times or whatever, this guy may run different. So, from that standpoint, there's still work to do and there will be throughout the season. You just can't practice every play with every guy. There's no substitute for game-type situations."
On a preseason roundtable discussion featuring ESPN NFL analysts, Favre was the first topic of discussion and he was pretty much trashed by half the panel, who seemed to agree that he can't make it through the 19 or 20 games the Vikings hope to play from here on out. Favre was quick to agree that he may not have enough left in the tank to take another full season of pounding.
"I may not finish the year," Favre said. "If you would have asked me my first year if I would finish, I'd have said I may not. No one thought I'd play 18 straight years without missing a game, me included. I have no idea what's going to happen. None. And that's an opinion. I have my opinions, as we all do, good or bad. As I said when I came in here, it's a great opportunity. I knew that from day one. When Brad (Childress) called the last time, it was like, ‘There's no guarantee.' They were willing to take that chance, and I was willing to take that chance. I can remember Brad saying, ‘You've got to cross over the line, take a chance.'"
Favre said questions about whether he could be fully healed sparked his reluctance to join the team before training camp. Some have speculated his motivation to return has been the result of everything from revenge against the Packers or the 12 starts he needs to pass Vikings great Jim Marshall for the consecutive games played in the NFL by a position player (the record is held by punter Jeff Feagles at 336 games).
Favre had already shot down the revenge against Ted Thompson theories and dropped something of a bombshell that he was willing to sit last year when it was learned that he had the arm injury.
"I was receptive to (being benched) last year," Favre said. "When we finally did an MRI and found out I had a torn biceps, I felt like, with about four or five games left, that even though I was making some pretty good throws and some decent plays, I felt like I was doing the team more harm because I was missing on some throws. Subtle, just a yard off, two yards off, maybe a tad behind."
While unnoticed by most of the same analysts who have spent the past couple of months bashing him, the Jets knew about the injury, its severity and what it was doing to some of Favre's throws. But, Favre said, while he was willing to take a back seat to backup Kellen Clemens, the coaching staff and front office of the Jets wasn't as willing. With an 8-3 record through 11 games, the Jets were looking at a division title and felt Favre – even at less than 100 percent – gave the organization the best chance to win.
"I talked with (Jets offensive coordinator) Brian Schottenhemier, talked to (Jets General Manager) Mike Tannenbaum, and my quarterbacks coach (Brian Daboll), who now is the coordinator for Cleveland, and addressed that with him that I thought maybe I was doing more harm than good," Favre said. "They knew I had a torn biceps, which we backed off in practice. I took a cortisone shot a couple times to try to relieve the pain. I started pressing. I was real receptive to (sitting). We felt like, after talking with each one of them, that it was best to just – we'd come this far – to just finish it out. I had no qualms about having Kellen play, and that probably hasn't even been addressed before, because I didn't think it would need to be addressed at the end of the season, but I just didn't feel confident because of this injury. So sure, I don't want to go through that and neither do the Vikings."
How long Favre's soon-to-be-40-year-old body can hold up remains a question for debate, but, unlike the Jets, it would appear both he and the Vikings won't repeat the mistake of the 2008, which ultimately cost Favre some of his credibility and Mangini his job.