Favre: 'It's hard enough at 40 to play,' much less play without Sidney Rice
Get the 1500 ESPN SportsWire delivered to your inbox daily, and keep up with all the news in Twin Cities Sports
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- Brett Favre knew Sidney Rice "had some issues" with his hip and wasn't taking part in training camp, but Favre didn't know the Minnesota Vikings' top receiver would miss roughly half the season.
Would that information have affected Favre's decision to play a 20th NFL season?
"Well, I don't know that for certain, because that obviously wasn't the case," Favre said after practice on Wednesday. "It's hard enough at 40 to play. You take a guy out that had roughly 90-something catches and was obviously pretty productive ... but there's more guys on this team, too."
Speaking for the first time since Rice underwent surgery on Monday that's expected to sideline him at least eight weeks, Favre said he stayed in contact with Rice throughout the offseason and "really felt like, at some point during training camp, he would be able to go. Obviously, that's not the case. But I was probably like most people -- I was pretty optimistic that he would be OK."
Rice had a breakout season playing with Favre in 2009, catching 93 passes for 1,496 yards and 12 touchdowns (including playoffs). Rice had only 46 catches combined in two previous NFL seasons.
"Without Sidney, it sure makes it tougher," Favre said. "But going into the season last year, no one expected the season that Sidney was going to have. So, maybe there's another guy that can step up and do that."
Favre specifically mentioned receiver Bernard Berrian as a player who stands to get more touches and repeated another common theme from his first few media conferences -- that "Sidney or no Sidney ... our running game needs to be more productive and controlling throughout the season, especially with the schedule we've got."
He added: "All that's easier said than done, but I'm happy to be here. I have no idea what will happen this year. It's unfortunate with Sidney. Hopefully, we'll get Percy (Harvin) back. But it can't change the way I approach the game or my feelings towards it. I'd love to have (Rice), but ... we go to bat with who we've got and try to make the most of it.