Notebook: Brett Favre not backing off retirement plan, says 'I'm done'
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EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- Brett Favre has been asked the questions dozens of times in recent months, and his answer on Wednesday was emphatic as ever.
"I'm done," the Minnesota Vikings' 41-year-old quarterback said about playing a 21st NFL season, then repeated, "I'm done."
That Favre has changed his mind on retirement three consecutive offseasons casts doubt on even his strongest statements, of course.
But there's no question Favre has appeared physically and emotionally spent at times during the Vikings' 4-7 start, and he looked and sounded as tired as ever during his weekly media conference. He's been battling an illness in addition to ongoing shoulder, foot and ankle problems, and Wednesday's injury report listed a neck issue, too.
"I remember same question first part of the year and everyone said, well ..." Favre said, "and I said, 'Time will tell.' But I'm done.
"As I said when I came back, we're here to win a Super Bowl. We had big expectations. It hasn't gone the way we'd hoped up to this point. But, again, my career speaks for itself. I've had a great career. I don't know how the remaining games will unfold, but that's it."
Favre has made clear he doesn't want to get into coaching -- "These guys, college and pros, they're here until midnight; I have no idea what they're doing," he said -- and on Wednesday he ruled out following a long line of accomplished quarterbacks into broadcasting, at least not right away.
He also rejected the idea that he'd be less certain about his future if the Vikings were on their way to that Super Bowl bid, rather than languishing on the outskirts of the playoff picture with five games remaining.
"The demeanor and things like that would be different around here," Favre said. "But as far as physically, into the future, I don't think I'd feel any different."
Receiver Percy Harvin wasn't on the field during the portion of Wednesday's practice reporters were allowed to watch. But he apparently arrived at some point and was listed as a limited participant on the injury report with an "illness" -- the same way he's been listed in the past when dealing with one of his chronic migraine headaches.
Favre, halfback Adrian Peterson (ankle), end Ray Edwards (ankle), guard Steve Hutchinson (thumb) and receiver Greg Lewis (concussion) did not participate in practice. Only Favre is a sure bet to play on Sunday, though Hutchinson seems to have a good chance of being available, too.
Harvin, safety Husain Abdullah (ankle), cornerback Chris Cook (knee), receiver Sidney Rice (hip) and safety Jamarca Sanford (hamstring) were limited, while receiver Bernard Berrian (groin) and safety Eric Frampton (hamstring) were full participants.
In Buffalo, eight players -- guard Eric Wood (ankle), tackle Demetrius Bell (knee), cornerback Terrence McGee (knee), linebacker Chris Kelsay (illness), end Dwan Edwards (hamstring), linebacker Reggie Torbor (shoulder), tight end Shawn Nelson (illness) and nose tackle Torrell Troup (fibula) -- did not participate. Running back C.J. Spiller (hamstring) and end Spencer Johnson (hamstring) were limited.
Not a word
Despite reports indicating the NFL is close to wrapping its investigation, Favre said he's heard nothing further from the league regarding a follow-up interview or resolution.
"I haven't heard a word," said Favre, who allegedly sent racy voicemails and photographs to a female former New York Jets employee when he played there in 2008.
The league began its investigation shortly after the Web site Deadspin.com published the voicemails and photos in early October. Favre, Deadspin's editor and the former Jets employee, Jenn Sterger, subsequently were interviewed, and ESPN reported on Sunday that Sterger's representatives had turned over final visual evidence.
"To be honest with you, I haven't even thought about it," Favre said. "My focus is on this team, which is tough enough as it is. I'm not concerned about that."
Challenge for Cook
Cook was inactive for Sunday's win at Washington because of swelling in both surgically repaired knees, but he said on Wednesday there's nothing structurally wrong with them.
The surprise deactivation was another setback in what's proven to be a long rookie season for the Vikings' top draft pick. He also was benched the previous week against Green Bay for the second time in four weeks.
"You've got to stay mentally tough," Cook said. "You can't let it get you down, because if you do, it's just going to go in the tank and disconnect yourself from the world and from my teammates. So, I've been staying positive and just trying to live my life right."
When the Vikings selected Joe Webb in the sixth round of April's draft, they planned to play him at receiver.
Then, former coach Brad Childress had him throw some passes after a minicamp practice, liked what he saw and moved Webb back to quarterback, where he'd played most of his career at UAB.
Webb made enough plays in the preseason to earn a spot on the 53-man roster but has been inactive for all 11 games. Does interim coach Leslie Frazier think Webb's future is at quarterback?
"I think he can be a quarterback in our league," Frazier said. "Still early for him, but definitely want to give him every chance to be a successful quarterback. He can definitely make some plays with the football in his hand. He's an outstanding athlete. We've got time to evaluate."
• Favre's victory-clinching scramble against Washington evoked memories of the one he didn't make in January's NFC championship game at New Orleans -- instead throwing a game-turning interception. Given the injuries Favre was battling then, could he have run for the first down? "I'm sure I could have," Favre said. "I've asked myself that question a bunch. ... Physically, I was able to play in the Saints game. It would have been a lot tougher a day or two later to play. I could have done that. Wish I would have done it. Or I wish I would have thrown it to Bernard (Berrian) in the flat. But that wasn't the case."
• The Vikings released DB Cary Harris from the practice squad and replaced him with G Adrian Martinez -- a 6-foot-3, 310-pound rookie from Colorado State who has spent time with Carolina, Seattle and Indianapolis.
• In HB Toby Gerhart's first nine NFL games, he carried the ball 24 times total. Then came Sunday's game at Washington, where starter Adrian Peterson (ankle) dropped out and Gerhart carried 22 times for 76 yards and a touchdown. By Monday morning, "I felt like I did back in college when I was carrying it 30 times a game," Gerhart said. "Everything was sore and basically just fell out of bed. But I sat in the cold tub the last two days and feeling better (Wednesday)."
• Frazier said he hasn't been contacted by officials from the University of Colorado, which interviewed running backs coach Eric Bieniemy for its head-coaching job over the week. "Maybe if it were someone else other than Eric you, might be concerned, but I know where his focus is," Frazier said. "I know how passionate he is about our team and our organization, so he'll get it done. He'll get his job done here in Minnesota."
• WR Sidney Rice had only one catch on Sunday in his second game back from hip surgery. "He's missed a lot of football so to be able to get that burst back, be able to get your route running back, there are so many things that will come and have come," Frazier said. "... If you were to ask him, he'd tell you he's off just a little bit, but he's still doing a lot of good things for us."