Brett Favre sounds like a quarterback who’s thrown his last pass, at peace with the way his storied career could end on a blindside hit that slammed him to the turf and ended his all-time record durability streak.
With the Minnesota Vikings quarterback situation completely up in the air Thursday, Favre said he still feels discomfort in his sprained shoulder and numbness in his hand — 11 days after the injury that kept him out of Minnesota’s last game against the New York Giants. He said “there’s no way” he would consider playing Monday night against the Chicago Bears with the same symptoms.
“I think it would be foolish to even think that way,” Favre said.
So if he feels better, will he start throwing again and see if he can heal in time to play in one of the last two games?
“If it’s February, I probably won’t,” Favre deadpanned. “I suppose. We are obviously running out of time.”
The Vikings (5-8) have been eliminated from playoff contention with three games left. Favre said he has talked with interim head coach Leslie Frazier about taking advantage of the time to develop rookie Joe Webb, now that backup Tarvaris Jackson (turf toe) is done for the season.
Favre said he’ll stay with the team until the season is over, even if he doesn’t play anymore.
“Can’t say I look forward to traveling any. Getting back at 3 in the morning for a home game the other day, I felt like I had played,” Favre said. “Yeah, I plan on being here.”
As for whether he’d like to play once more before he retires, Favre said he considers the entire season — his 20th in the NFL — the last hurrah.
“I knew going in, as with any season, there are no guarantees, and things may not go as you would have hoped,” Favre said, adding: “I know up to this point, I came in and did everything I could do. Don’t regret it one bit. If it’s meant to be over, then so be it.”
As for the NFL investigation into alleged advances he made toward a New York Jets game-day hostess two years ago, Favre said he hasn’t “heard a word” and again said the process hasn’t weighed on him. Commissioner Roger Goodell said Wednesday he expected to make a decision before the end of the season.
Jackson was placed on injured reserve Thursday, and the Vikings signed veteran Patrick Ramseyto take his place. Frazier said he wasn’t ready to name a starter for the Bears game, but he said Webb would work with the first-team offense in practice.
Jackson suffered a turf toe injury in the Giants game, and Frazier said there was also ligament damage. Webb hurt his hamstring in the Bills game, but Frazier said he believes Webb is past that.
Either way, the Vikings — just like their stadium situation — are extremely unsettled at the sport’s most important position.
Webb said his comfort level with the offense “is very high” but the learning curve is always steep given the complexities of playing quarterback in the NFL. He’s naturally excited, though, giving frustrated fans at least one intriguing angle to follow in this game.
“Monday Night Football, you can’t get no better than that,” said Webb, a sixth-round draft pick from Alabama-Birmingham. “You’ve been dreaming that ever since you’ve been a little kid.”
Ramsey, a nine-year veteran, was once a starter for the Washington Redskins. He was let go by the Miami Dolphins last month and hasn’t started a game since 2005.
Ramsey participated Thursday in his first practice with the Vikings after getting a call at his home in Louisiana. This is his fifth team in the last two years and eighth overall.
“It was certainly out of the blue for sure. My wife was wondering what we were doing for Christmas,” Ramsey said. “There’s a lot. Right now, I’ve got to worry about the Bears, and we’ll figure that out.”
Frazier prepared Ramsey for the possibility he could see playing time in unfamiliar surroundings — “This is the first team where I don’t really know anyone,” Ramsey said — in an offense he’s learning on the fly just five days after arriving.
“I said, ‘You’ve got to put your mind around this,’” Frazier said, adding: “For some reason if Joe goes down the first play, here we go Patrick: You’re the guy.”
Favre said he actually began feeling the numbness in the Nov. 28 game against the Redskins after a hit that knocked his helmet off. Then, when he was taken down the following week byBuffalo Bills rookie Arthur Moats on his first pass of the game, Favre fell on his shoulder, doing further damage and stopping his streak at 297 straight games started.
Favre was held out of practice again Thursday and was looking toward getting Webb comfortable.
“Let him get those reps, and in the meantime see how I feel,” Favre said.