EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. (AP) - Brett Favre's latest retirement lasted all of three weeks.
The three-time MVP has done an about-face for the second timein as many years and will play for the Vikings this season.
"I felt I did everything I possibly could do to get where Ineed to be," Favre said Tuesday. "You're 39, your arm may not feellike it did at 21. But the pieces are in place that you don't haveto do that much and I agree with that.
"If they were willing to take that chance, I was, too."
If the wait for Favre's decision seemed never-ending, it wasresolved in a few short hours. He jumped on a team plane inMississippi and was picked up at the St. Paul airport by coach BradChildress himself. The two drove to the team's practice facility,where Favre waved to hundreds of cheering fans.
No less than 90 minutes later, Favre was on the field in hisfamiliar No. 4 jersey with purple shorts and a purple helmet, avision that has had Packers fans cringing about for months. Heshook hands with a few of his new teammates and quickly beganthrowing as fans peeked through the security fence to catch aglimpse of the superstar.
Shortly after practice began, the Vikings confirmed theagreement that seemed so inevitable all summer, only to be held upon July 28 when the man who holds every major NFL career passingrecord told Childress he wasn't ready to play, citing a lack ofconfidence in his beat-up body to hold up over an entire season.
Favre also had been told by doctors that he had a tear in hisrotator cuff.
Green Bay visits Minnesota on Oct. 5, and the Packers hostthe Vikings on Nov. 1.
"The bottom line is it's football," Favre said. "Once youstep into the huddle, I don't look at the helmets. I look at thefaces."
Childress a few weeks ago said he had not planned to pursueFavre after the quarterback said he was staying retired. And yethere comes Favre, once reviled by a Vikings fan base that hustledto welcome him to town.
"I don't have any problem rooting for one of the greatestquarterbacks ever," said Phil Setala, a 23-year-old fromMinneapolis who was at practice proudly wearing a purple No. 4jersey.
Even the governor chimed in.
"It's going to be good for the team. It's going to be goodfor the state. It's going to be exciting," a giddy Gov. TimPawlenty said after a speech.
Last month, Favre explained his decision by saying he had tobe "careful not to commit for the wrong reasons."
"I'm 39 with a lot of sacks to my name," he said.
He has a lot of interceptions to his name, too, more than anyother quarterback in NFL history. The last time Favre appeared inthe playoffs - a bitter loss at Lambeau Field by the Packers to theGiants in the NFC championship game following the 2007 season - heput up one of his worst performances in recent memory.
Now the question becomes how Favre will fit in with a teamthat's already done with the grind of training camp, not to mentionhow his health will hold up so soon after he questioned it. Favrehad arthroscopic surgery to fix his throwing shoulder in May.
The Vikings got an encouraging performance in their preseasonopener last week from quarterback Sage Rosenfels, who has beencompeting with Tarvaris Jackson for the starting job. But neitherof them have been consistently sharp in practice this month.
And neither is anywhere in Favre's league. His zinger of anarm and toughness in the pocket are a combination few possess. Withan offense he claimed this summer he could operate in his sleep,Favre seems to fit well with Minnesota - especially given theVikings' problems finding a reliable quarterback since Childresstook over in 2006.
The Vikings have Pro Bowl players all over their roster, withreigning NFL rushing leader Adrian Peterson in the backfield and adominant defensive line. No matter who's behind center, they oughtto be in position to defend their NFC North title.
To win the conference, and perhaps that elusive Super Bowl,they'll need stability at the sport's most critical position.
Favre has wrestled with retirement for most of this decadeand the will-he-or-won't-he saga became an annual offseason dramafor the Packers, his longtime home. In Green Bay, the latest newselicited a few shrugs, little more.
A few months after Favre's tearful goodbye news conference inMarch 2008, Green Bay traded him to the Jets when he tried to comeback, only to learn the Packers were committed to Aaron Rodgers.Favre started strong in New York, but faded down the stretch amidproblems with his throwing arm and, with another "I'm done"announcement, headed for his second retirement.
The Jets released him from his contract right after the draftand soon after, the Vikings were openly expressing interest. Favrespent the summer working out in Mississippi and led everyone tobelieve he was on his way back to the NFL until last month.
Now, he is back.
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