Hearts in Vikings Country were broken when Brett Favre announced shortly before the start of training camp last year that he wasn't coming back. A little less than a year later, much the same story is coming out of the Favre camp … but this time he's actually speaking for himself rather than leaving the guesswork to others.
In an interview Tuesday with Jon Saraceno of USA Today, Favre said that, at the current time, he doesn't know whether he can come back at 100 percent.
"If I could guarantee it, I would," Favre told Saraceno. "Obviously, I can't make people understand what I'm going through."
As Sarah Palin is wont to say, Favre "refutiated" that Vikings coach Brad Childress' visit with him at his home in Mississippi was seeking out a timeline for his return, saying that Childress just stopped by on his way back to Minnesota from Florida, although Mapquest doesn't necessarily put a connecting flight to Hattiesburg as a logical stopping point from the Sunshine State. Childress has already said the Vikings are willing to wait as long as it takes for Favre to feel comfortable with his surgically repaired ankle to make his return.
Even so, Favre said that the most patient of coaches can only wait so long for a definitive answer – deadline or not.
"There obviously comes a point where you've probably gone too far – where you just have to move on. He hopes I make the right decision for myself – one way or the other. Our visit was great. I think the world of him (and) his patience. He and I joked about there were some rocky times last year. All of a sudden, we weren't sittin' on the front porch anymore BS-ing, but any good team has that. We're both competitors. That happens."
The issue this time around isn't a surgically repaired biceps tendon. It's an ankle that took a lot of abuse last season, especially late. One of Favre's best attributes has been his ability to slide in the pocket to avoid a pass rush and give his receivers time to get open. Although it has been more than two months since he had the ankle surgery (his third ankle surgery), he said that he isn't 100 percent yet, which is a concern for a player trying to get his body prepared for a 20th NFL season.
"After almost nine weeks, it's not where I would like it to be," Favre said. "But I'm working at it. Maybe it never gets to where I want it to be. Forty years old ... three surgeries ... that's all you need to know."
For Vikings fans who are reading too much into it, those who played with Favre last year or saw the impact he had on his teammates behind the scenes remain convinced that he will be in uniform when the Vikings open the 2010 regular season with a nationally televised season-opening rematch with the New Orleans Saints from their electric NFC Championship Game. They learned what a competitor Favre is. They may also have learned that what says in July doesn't necessarily translate into what he says in August.
John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.