Vikings quarterback Brett Favre approached the podium at his news conference Wednesday wearing a walking boot on his injured left foot and then proceeded to make one thing very clear: He thinks he can play on Sunday at New England.
Favre, in fact, told coach Brad Childress during a meeting on Tuesday that he would like to play Sunday or at least have that mindset during the week. The real key here is will Favre and Childress be on the same page in making this decision?
"I would love to play," said Favre, who has started an NFL-record 291 consecutive games. “There’s a chance I don’t play. That’s no secret to anyone. I want to play. I want to do what I can this week to get myself ready to play. I know the bone will continue to be broken for quite a while. I’ve done it in the past. I think I can do it again. I just want to help this team get back on track.”
Favre, 41, isn't expected to practice on Wednesday and Thursday and said he might try do some work on Friday. "I wouldn't put it past him," Childress said when asked if he expected Favre to play.
Asked how much of the decision would be up to Favre and how much would be up to him, Childress said: "You have to weigh both. What he's telling you. I've said before. Sometimes you have to protect people from themselves as well."
What makes this interesting is Favre doesn't want to be protected. He wants to play. In the massive bio that Favre used to have in the Packers media guide, half a page was devoted to various injuries Favre had played through. This included a mid-left foot sprain in 2000, an injury that also left him in a boot, and a broken thumb on his throwing hand in 2003. Both times Favre not only didn't miss a game but posted victories in his next appearance.
Favre said he trusts his ability to make the proper decision, although there will be some who say he wants to play to keep the streak alive. "I know I'll keep an open mind about it and be smart about it," said Favre, who made it clear he is proud of the streak. "I don't want to go out and play just to play and look back and say, 'I should have known better, I couldn't make that play.' I do know that if I didn't have a hurt foot, I'm not going to rush for 50 yards and with a broken foot, I'm not going to rush for 50 yards. We do know that, so there are some limitations that really won't change."
Favre also said he was aware of Childress' postgame criticism of him after he threw three interceptions in the second half of Sunday's loss at Green Bay. That didn't exactly go a long way toward improving a relationship that already is icy.
"Every coach is different," Favre said when asked about his relationship with Childress. "Emotions run [high] for players and coaches. I can't disagree with some of his comments. I'd be the first to tell you that there were plays I should have made. Maybe I should have read things differently, so on and so forth, and I can go back throughout my whole career and say that.
"We had a talk [Tuesday], not necessarily about that, but just injuries and things in general that I wanted to address to him, that I would like to play or at least have that mindset as the week progresses. I think we've been able to talk about things, but we don't necessarily agree. I think that's part of it. I think both of our intentions are to win. We've got to get this on track. We know that. How we get there remains to be seen.
"As long as we're both focused on the right prize, that's all that matters. I didn't come here hoping to get along with Brad any more or less than I did last year. He's the head coach and I'm the quarterback. I know what's expected of me. I don't need him or anyone else to tell me that. My intentions are to do that and help this team win. That doesn't mean we have to agree on it, though."