Brett Favre is 41 years and has played 20 seasons in the NFL, but the future Hall of Fame quarterback, whose playing status is questionable for Monday's game against the Giants, never has had as many injuries as this year.
But he always seems to find a way to perform.
"This has been different," Favre said. "You know, it's hard to get consistency and get on the same page with guys because we've had a lot of injuries, but you never know what's going to happen throughout a season.
"Everything that could go wrong seems to have gone wrong this year, but I think in my 20 years this is by far the most injuries and depleted we've been."
Favre lasted only one pass against Buffalo last week when he suffered a shoulder injury that knocked him from the game. Tarvaris Jackson played the rest of the way.
"Throughout my career [I've had] a fair amount of injuries, and that's a part of football," he said. "But it's been a little bit tougher year from that standpoint. I seem to have gotten hit a little bit more. Playing with a broken foot -- I would have never thought I could do that, first of all -- but I've been able to work through it. ... For any football player, there's little nagging injuries that you have to play with, but it seems to have been a little more prominent this year."
He was asked if injuries have been the reason he hasn't been nearly as effective as last season.
"I don't know if they've necessarily ever helped," he said. "I think I could point to times where it has, but I don't think you can ever use that as an excuse. If you're going to play, you have to go in, and that's the case with this injury that I have right now. OK, can I tough it out? Maybe so. But how effective can I be? And that's the way I've always approached injuries and the next game. I don't ever want to hurt the team by trying to play just to play.
"I'm committed to seeing this thing through. This is a different injury. I hope I can overcome it, but at this time I don't know. We're worried."
Contrary what a lot of people believe, his streak of 297 starts won't force him to play if he can't produce on the field.
"It means a lot, but not enough to play a game just for that streak," Favre said. "... I don't need to start another game to certify my legacy when it comes to starts and things like that. I've far exceeded any expectation I ever had."
Favre caught a break when Sunday's game was postponed because of the weather. He will be a game-time decision, but his close buddy and teammate, kicker Ryan Longwell, is confident Favre will at least start.Childress relationship
There was a lot of talk of Favre and former coach Brad Childress not being on the same page before Childress was fired on Nov. 22.
"Absolutely, did we have disagreements? I think every player and coach have disagreements," Favre said. "I thought he was a good man. Our philosophies, we differed from that aspect, but we were able to work through that. But there's no doubt that that was blown way out of proportion."
He said his relationship with Childress didn't play a part in his decision to come back for a second year.
"There's a lot of reasons that I wouldn't have come back or I would have come back, that played no part in it," he said. "I ultimately wanted to come back and compete with these guys and give it one more try."
He looked back to last year when the team almost made it to the Super Bowl, and said that was the main reason he came back.
"We came so close last year. It was, in talking with the guys and some of the coaches throughout the offseason it was, 'Boy, we were so close.' That was hard to pass up," he said. "Physically, I'm not doing myself any favors by continuing to play. But I just felt like in the end it was worth one more shot, and I can't say that anymore."
Favre played with some great receivers at Green Bay and he was asked to compare them with Sidney Rice and Percy Harvin.
"I think these guys, as young as they are, can be as good as any in the league," he said. "They offer two different dimensions. Sidney is not the speed guy, but he's a go-up-and-get-it guy, like he did last week. Percy is a tremendous athlete, you just get the ball in his hands. It's a shame, I'm 41 and those guys are young and still have a long career ahead of them."
Favre hasn't discussed his problems with former Jets employee Jenn Sterger. He was asked if his stature has driven the swirl of publicity over his alleged contacts with her.
"I mean, you can answer that, Sid," he said. "I think that goes without saying."Looking to the future
Favre said there isn't any chance that he will come back next year.
Would he like a career in NFL broadcasting once his pro career ends?
"I have no plans really to do that," he said. "Who knows what will happen? But I enjoy helping others and I enjoy spending some time at the high school back home working with those kids.
''We're in no big hurry to do anything in particular, but we plan on trying to help other people now."
Favre said the experience of living and playing here the past two years has been great for him and his family.
"Being the enemy for so many years [with the Packers] it was a tough transition, but the people and the organization have really made it smooth," he said.
"It's been good. I know one thing: Playing in the Metrodome as a Viking is a lot better than as an opponent -- it's a tough place to play. It's a good place. The people here are great and I've enjoyed the organization tremendously. ... It's been a lot of fun, great people, a great experience playing with this organization."
His foundation already has given $600,000 to local charities. And this year his wife, Deanna, will play Santa Claus as the Favre family supplies Christmas dinner for needy families through the Salvation Army Adopt A Family program.
"It goes back to what I was just saying, about helping other people," he said. "My wife and I, first and foremost, are very blessed. God has blessed us with so many gifts, and to be able to give back and help is, to me, I think that's part of our service. And this is just one way of giving back."
When describing good athletes, former Vikings coach Bud Grant always said durability is just as important as ability. Playing hurt is important.
I've watched a lot of athletes in my long writing and broadcasting career, but I don't believe I've ever watched a guy with more heart, more guts and more competitive fire than Brett Favre. He is amazing.
For me, covering him the past two years and having the great relationship I've had with him has been a great experience. They don't make many like Brett Favre.
Sid Hartman can be heard weekdays on WCCO AM-830 at 6:40, 7:40 and 8:40 a.m. • email@example.com