Forgive Sage Rosenfels if he doesn't get too worked up over the steadily increasing rumors linking Brett Favre to the Minnesota Vikings.
Such a move would likely end Rosenfels' first genuine opportunity as a full-time starting quarterback in the NFL. Acquired in a trade with the Texans in February, Rosenfels is the presumptive favorite to usurp the job from Tarvaris Jackson this offseason in Minnesota.
It was recently reported that Vikings head coach Brad Childress plans to meet this week with Favre, who was officially released by the Jets last month. But Rosenfels isn't sweating it because it wouldn't be the first time the rug was pulled from underneath him.
"Nothing really surprises me anymore," said Rosenfels, who's heading into his ninth season. "There are a lot of rumors in the NFL and I have learned to just go about my business. ... It doesn't change the way I work out or the way I prepare. I always say frustration is a self-inflicted wound. For me to get frustrated would just hurt me as a player and doesn't benefit me whatsoever.""
Rosenfels' career is a case study in almosts and what ifs. Drafted in the fourth round out of Iowa State by the Marty Schottenheimer-coached Washington Redskins in 2001, Rosenfels was all set to compete for the starting or backup job in his second year. But new head coach Steve Spurrier came in 2002 and traded Rosenfels to the Miami Dolphins in favor of guys like Danny Wuerffel, Shane Matthews and Patrick Ramsey. Rosenfels managed to stay on the roster in Miami but was never given a chance to compete for the top spot as the Fins annually added another quarterback to the mix with moves like the trade for A.J. Feeley and the signing of Gus Frerotte. Rosenfels again was left to wait and hope.
He played well enough in a couple of opportunities in Miami that the Texans signed him to be the backup to David Carr. After Carr's first season under new head coach Gary Kubiak was a failure and Rosenfels had played well in spot duty, he was told he would be given a legitimate opportunity to compete for the starting job for the first time in his career. Instead, the Texans gave up a second-round pick and $48 million to lasso Matt Schaub from the Atlanta Falcons. Rosenfels was again relegated to holding a clipboard and waiting for an opportunity.
"Unless you are a first-round pick or a high second-round pick, it is really hard to break in and be a starter unless someone gets injured significantly and you hop in and have a lot of success over a pretty good stretch of games," Rosenfels said. "We probably wouldn't know about Tom Brady and Matt Cassel unless the guys in front of them got hurt. The only reason I am here in Minnesota right now is because Matt [Schaub] went down a couple of times the last couple of seasons and I was able to do some good things when I went in."
Prior to the Favre-to-Minnesota rumors, the stars finally seemed to be aligned for Rosenfels. In need of a consistent quarterback, Minnesota liked what they saw in Rosenfels, who completed 65 percent of his passes and had a quarterback rating over 80 in 10 starts in Houston the past two seasons while relieving Schaub.
The Favre speculation, however, is difficult for Rosenfels to ignore. "Some people in my family called and asked me about it like, 'What's going on, do you know anything about it?'" he said. "It is something that I really don't think about because there is nothing I can do about it. All I can do is get ready for these minicamps and OTAs [Organized Team Activities] later this month."
Rosenfels says he has spoken recently to both Vikings head coach Brad Childress and offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell and neither brought up what by now amounts to the elephant in the room. His approach is to not ask Childress and company what the situation is unless there is something more concrete to discuss.
If Favre does indeed un-retire again and sign with Minnesota, Rosenfels will be back in his familiar role: Always the bridesmaid, never the bride.