Not so fast. Before you make that passing judgment, tuck that ball back in and take another look at the defense. Favre didn't need an excuse, and he hasn't needed one since the Vikings started publicly courting him last summer.
This is Brett Favre's world. Bus Cook, Brad Childress and the Vikings are just living in it. Favre might need the Vikings to feed his football addiction, but the Vikings need him like Everson Griffen needs the words "you know" to get through a statement.
Childress played coy with the wooing of Favre last summer. This year, with Favre still under contract for $13 million in 2010, there is no secret and no perceived need for Childress or anyone else to pretend. Favre will come back if he wants to come back – and he'll do it when he wants no matter how much his cankle is screaming at him.
Bone spurs? Please, Favre eats those for breakfast before he even starts to muddy his first pair of Wranglers working around the estate.
If you think this is his excuse to miss the Vikings' offseason program and even part of training camp, you haven't been paying attention to Childress for the last three months. Witness his statement in late February at the NFL Scouting Combine, where the Vikings were looking at several quarterback prospects that obviously didn't infatuate them:
"I'm not going to put him in any box after the year. … He's still healing up from that (NFC Championship) game and he's kind of earned that latitude. I think he kind of defines things a different way, where everybody said, ‘Well, he had to be here for OTAs, for the mandatory minicamp, he's trying to get out of training camp.' I just think it's important to manage a guy's resources, particularly on a 40- or 41-year old. There's really not a manual on that, just like there's not a manual for raising kids. There's not a manual for 40, 41, and to have one of his best years, you just have to be mindful of that," Childress said.
Childress continued to say he was fine with Favre's timeline last year – he didn't sign with the Vikings until Aug, 18, after the Mankato portion of training camp ended – and the coach is open to that timeline again in 2010.
"You have to be able to do deal with uncertainty and ambiguity in this business, whether you're a player, whether you're a coach and deal with it well. I think our players get that, understand that. I think that they'll be fine," Childress said in February.
The tune hasn't change, nor will it. Childress is willing to wait on Favre and he isn't afraid to say it publicly.
"I don't have a lot of illusions about the timing of the thing, as I mentioned to you way back when," Childress said again on Friday. "There was no manual back then and he played at a high level. How much time does he need? He knows. I've got a ballpark idea of how much he needs and obviously what he got last year was plenty."
Favre will come back when he wants … within reason (by the regular season). He had too much fun in 2009. The ultra-competitor got too close to the Super Bowl. And he enjoyed his teammates too much.
He knows the Vikings offense even better this year, and he knows the strengths and weaknesses of his receivers. He will be back. The only thing that the report of potential ankle surgery did was put Favre back in the headlines and caused an offseason stir of reaction among Favre worshippers and haters.
Some of those sentiments were long message board diatribes. Thankfully, Twitter limits posts to 140 characters or less and brings out the best in quick-witted sarcasm. Here are a few of my short-and-sweet favorites from both sides of the polarizing fence – the first one being just one of the many fans and bloggers who believe this is an excuse.
I love sarcasm for Sunday breakfast. It's a nutritious start to the post-draft season.