The face of the Green Bay franchise for 16 years and its once beloved three time MVP flew into enemy territory otherwise known as Eden Prairie, Minn., signed a contract with the Minnesota Vikings and forcibly nudged a purple helmet over his temples for his first practice as one of the Packers‘ most despised rivals.
The unthinkable is reality. Brett Lorenzo Favre is officially a Minnesota Viking in 2009.
In a Tuesday evening news conference, Favre revealed for the first time that he has an injured rotator cuff in his throwing shoulder, said he was reassured by doctors that it should not affect his play, admitted he thought he was done three weeks ago when he remained retired, and then said he had a complete change of heart after Minnesota coach Brad Childress called him Monday.
„I think I made the right decision,Cheap Jerseys free shipping I really do. Time will tell,“ Favre said.
It was, for Packers fans, a bizarre snapshot, even with his trade to the New York Jets last year a grinning Favre hoisting a No. 4 royal purple jersey. The National Football League said it had sold all 1,200 jerseys in stock within hours.
One team’s elation was another’s perceived betrayal.
But Favre insisted this comeback his second since retiring in March 2008 and again in February 2009 had nothing to do with revenge.
„Sixteen years in Green Bay were great years, and that was home to me,“ Favre said. „And some great games against this organization, some we won, some we lost. is not about revenge, believe me. You can’t take away the 16 years in Green Bay, and that will be forever cherished.
„They’ve moved on. I’ve moved on. I think it’s great for football. I can’t see how you wouldn’t think it would be.“
With the confidence of owning every major NFL passing record and his conscience clear over playing for the rival, Favre had other crucial matters to consider.
The partial tear in his rotator cuff was discovered in a magnetic resonance imaging exam after his partially torn right biceps tendon was surgically repaired in May, but the rotator tear is probably an old injury, Favre said.
Still, Favre’s surgeon, James Andrews, told him if the rotator cuff had been fixed with surgery this summer, he would not play in ’09, and maybe not in 2010.
„That scared me,“ Favre said. „Being a quarterback, 39, just coming off of surgery for something totally different to say reluctant would be an understatement. I just kept thinking that I didn’t want to go through what I went through last year.“
Favre played with the torn biceps tendon the last month of 2008 with New York, and it greatly affected his accuracy and arm strength. But Favre sought the opinions of doctors in recent weeks. They assured him he’d be OK, and the Vikings told him there was enough talent around him in Minnesota to lend Favre support.
„I felt like if they were willing to take that chance, I was, too,“ Favre said. „You won’t know unless you take a chance. There’s no guarantees. just didn’t want to look back. didn’t want to say, ‚What if.‘ had to worry about his commitment level. He’s been contemplating retirement since the end of the 2004 season. And the on again, off again flirtation with Minnesota, which initially began last year, never materialized into Favre’s all aboard status until he spoke with Childress.
„He had to feel good about it,“ said Childress. „He understands you have to be 100% committed. He understands and I understand what the commitment is for an NFL season to dive in. He had to be all in.“
The Vikings did not release terms of the deal. ESPN, citing anonymous sources, said Favre would receive $12 million this season and $13 million next season.
The fallout this side of the Mississippi River was incredible. Favre fans rejoiced at his guts and fortitude, but other Packers fans unleashed their fury in e mails, blogs sites, text messages and social networks. And as the news spread, conspiracy theories also blossomed.
Chief among them was that this was just a ploy by Favre to skip off season practices and training camp and that he had intended to play all along.
Favre and Childress denied that. So did one source who knew of Favre’s off season work and state of mind. The source said Favre agonized over this decision.
„Oh, I’m sure he didn’t want to go through camp,“ said the source. „I’m sure he wanted to get his arm fine. I know the one main thing he was hoping was that something would just come to him, some type of sign to give him a reason to want to play. Or he was hoping he would just wake up one day and say, ‚Hey, I want to play.‘ And maybe (Monday) that happened.“
There’s no going back now. With a Vikings team graced with the best running back in the league, Adrian Peterson, and stocked at every other position, the once calm NFL world now turns to Minnesota as a Super Bowl contender.
Packers general manager Ted Thompson hoped to avoid this very scene a year ago, dealing Favre to the Jets rather than releasing him and letting him go to the Vikings. Thompson was so concerned about this very marriage that he included a poison pill in the trade with the Jets that said if the Jets traded Favre to Minnesota, they would have to give the Packers an unheard of three first round draft choices.
Once the Jets released Favre after a complete collapse to their season, Favre was free to do what he wanted and the Packers had no say.
„I’m not surprised by it. I don’t think anybody should be surprised by it,“ said Packers coach Mike McCarthy, who didn’t want to discuss the signing much. „If he’s going to play, that’s obviously his choice.“