Do I believe it? Too early to tell -- with an asterisk. A big one.
That asterisk has something to do with October.
In 2008, it took
The ankle is killing him. Over the years, Favre's feet have taken an unusual beating, and he has had countless turf toes treated. But on a vicious hit late in the NFC Championship Game on the artificial turf in New Orleans, the left ankle got mangled, and he underwent surgery to clean it out May 22 in Florida by noted orthopedist
Having said that ...
Uh-oh. Here goes the "but maybe."
Let's compare the current situation to last year's Favre Watch.
On July 28, 2009, he told
This year, six days later but still at the dawn of Vikings training camp, he tells mates he won't be playing. As an acquaintance of Childress told me this afternoon: "The only strange thing about this is he's been talking to Brad all along, a lot. And now he tells other people but not Brad? I don't get that.''
My point: He left the door open a crack last year, and then gave in 20 days later. This year, he tells teammates, but not the coach who went to see him twice in Mississippi. There's just something odd about it. Is Favre, who notoriously hates confrontation, just avoiding telling Childress? Or is he having second thoughts?
Even if he does tell Childress it's over sometime today, let me raise the October possibility. Even if Favre absolutely, positively believes he's done, he's going to continue to be active. He'll work on the property. He might even throw the ball with the Oak Grove High team down the street. If his ankle starts to come around, think of this possibility: Favre returning to the Vikings after their very convenient Week 4 bye on the weekend of Oct. 3; riding in on his tractor and giving Minnesota the best chance to survive a hellish month that could determine whether the Vikings are contenders or pretenders.
The Vikings play at the Jets on Monday night, Oct. 11, Dallas at home six days later, with Armageddon games at Green Bay and New England to round out the month. That's four playoff teams. And no matter how well
One other thing to remember about Favre. He in influenced by his family, and for the good. His wife,
There's no question the 2009 season took a tremendous physical toll on Favre as he turned 40. In the 26 seasons I've covered the NFL, I've never seen such a broken player as Favre was in the locker room after the Vikings lost the NFC Championship Game -- in large part because he threw a terrible interception that allowed the Saints to win it in overtime. On a high-low Saints hit that should have been flagged for roughing-the-quarterback by ref
But the logical thought that day was that he'd recover, he'd come back to give a team he'd grown to love one more year when his body got right. And clearly, that's a fact -- he'd have come back sometime this month if the ankle just felt OK. Which is why I say: It ain't over 'til it's over. Not until the Vikings play 16 games (or more) this season, and Favre hasn't quarterbacked one of them. Me, I'm waiting 'til the bye week in October. That's the magic week for the Favre Watch to me.
• MISLEADING CONTRACT NUMBERS OF THE YEAR.
When Revis came out in the 2007 draft, he was drafted 14th overall in the first round by the Jets and signed a contract with a good signing bonus ($4.7 million) and a byzantine last couple of years that are far too complex to be summed up neatly in this space. Suffice it to say his base salary in 2010 is $550,000, which is obviously a fraction of the compensation he deserves. But every contract in the NFL, if taken only at face value of the salary alone, would be grossly unfair because it does not take into account the signing bonus. The fairest way, as the NFL does for cap value, is to pro-rate the signing bonus over the life of the contract, and add his $100,000 workout bonus, which would raise the total compensation to a little over $1.9 million. That's still not in Revis' ballpark, but always be conscious of discussing player salaries when you mention the salary alone.
• UH, OK TRIPS.
Well, let's see. I think they overpaid for
I think the Browns have reason to be a little optimistic -- but the only way that optimism can be ratcheted up is if they get good play at quarterback, and I haven't seen that out of Delhomme for a couple of years. And I did not go to Cleveland camp this year after being there three or four years in a row. Gotta try to see as many as I can each year, and this year was a catchup year for a few I haven't seen in a while (Houston, Miami, San Diego, San Francisco, Arizona).
• DOLPHIN UPDATE.
A couple of observations: There's no doubt in my mind that Miami wants
There's much confidence in Starks' ability to play the nose. He knows this is his chance to be a big factor in a good defense for the first time in his career. The corners, I think, are works in progress. Miami will be looking for improvement there, and I wouldn't be surprised if the Dolphins were in the market to upgrade there -- though, of course, there's a long line of teams that want to be better at corner. I like Miami, but there's a lot of what-ifs there to consider.
• WILL THE PACK START SLOW?
This is a better team than last year's, and certainly better than the 2008 team. My biggest worries: 1) How do they adapt without the big body of
Slow starts for good teams are often the result of how the schedule falls. But this year, if the Pack starts, say, 2-3 in the first five weeks (at Philly, Buffalo, at Chicago, Detroit, at Washington), they're in big, big trouble. I don't expect that to happen. I think 4-1 is much more realistic.
• YOU'RE A FRAUD.
I have no defense, because everything you say is true. What I said, obviously, was in jest, because I'm 53, overweight, and I might as well have said,
• AND NOW A NOTE FROM ME: I am going to run the New Hampshire Half-Marathon in Bristol, N.H., for charity, on Oct. 2. I've had a ton of suggestions for which charities to run for, and what I'm going to do is choose two from a list of five you will vote on in next week's column. Many of you have said I should run for a charity of Terrell Owens' or Chad Ochocinco's choice, or for a cancer charity after the recent death of