Brett Favre will return to Vikings for his 20th NFL season
Favre has been on the brink of retirement for several years, but has chosen to return to Minnesota a season after leading the team to an overtime loss in the NFC Championship game against the New Orleans Saints. It was initially reported that he was set to finally call it a career, but eventually decided to give it another go.
"It was very tough, obviously. I can make a case for both playing/not playing," Favre said at Wednesday's press conference. "It was really about the team. Believe me, when I left New Orleans, a big part of me was -- I don't want to say done, but the fact that we lost that game -- it's hard to make people understand."
In each of the last two off-seasons, a major injury nearly forced Favre to retire. After 2008 with the New York Jets, Favre needed surgery on the biceps of his throwing arm, but came back to throw for 4,202 yards with 33 touchdowns for the Vikings last season. He needed surgery to remove scar tissue and bone spurs in his ankle this off-season, and, although the surgery wasn't as successful, he decided he was healthy enough to play.
"I needed surgery three years ago on my ankle. It's a chronic ankle," Favre said. "I had a visit with Dr. [James] Andrews last Thursday. Surprisingly, a new spur had already surfaced in the new X-ray. Fact is, it's just something I have to deal with. There is a little bit more range of motion since the surgery, but we're not talking about a lot."
Favre practiced for the first time on Wednesday and said he hopes to play in Minnesota's next pre-season game against San Francisco on Sunday.
"I would like to [play Sunday]. I took a lot of reps today," Favre said. "I'm not real excited about getting hit anytime soon, but that's part of it. I think there's no substitute for calling plays in the huddle in a real game environment, and the only way I'm going to get the speed of the game down is being in games."
Additionally, the chance to win was something Favre couldn't pass up.
"The expectations are high here, as they should be," Favre said. "From my standpoint, I can't make any guarantees. I'm going to do everything I can. Whatever it takes for us to win. The bottom line -- I'm not here to set any records -- I've done it all, there's nothing left to prove. So, once again, it's really about these guys.
"I don't want to fail. I'm just being honest."
He also added that this year, the last of his contract, will be the final year of his professional career.
"After this year, I'm done. This is the last year of my contract," Favre said. "It was obviously a tough decision to come back. I can't say I'm going to do anything different than I did last year. I'd love to think that I'll play better. I'll do everything I can to help this team win."
The longtime Packers great who holds the NFL record for touchdown passes with 497, Favre has been the lone mainstay at signal-caller over the last 1-1/2 decades. Since the 1993 season, Favre has been quarterback for all 16 games every year, leading his teams to 10 seasons of 10 wins or more, including a Super Bowl title with Green Bay in 1996. Including playoffs, Favre has started 309 consecutive games, by far a record.
In what has surely been a Hall of Fame career up to this point, Favre has a 181-104 regular season record as a starter. The 181 wins are an NFL record, as are his 69,329 regular season passing yards and 5,855 playoff passing yards.
-- Sports Network
Photo: Brett Favre works out at Winter Park, the Vikings' practice facility in Eden Prairie on Wednesday. Credit: Eric Miller / Reuters