Pelissero: Around the NFL, the belief is Favre will be back
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It's been more than two weeks since our last Brett Favre update -- mainly because the Minnesota Vikings' quarterback never wants to play football this time of year and probably won't make a final decision about his future until mid-August.
I'm only breaking that streak after seeing this report from NFL Network's Jason LaCanfora, who wrote today, citing a source, that Favre still hasn't communicated anything to the Vikings about whether he'll have ankle surgery.
Without taking issue with either report, I think it's worth pointing this out:
No one, and I mean no one, around the NFL believes Favre will retire. At least not any of the sources I've asked for an opinion over the past six weeks or so.
An AFC personnel director actually laughed when I brought it up and said, "If he can walk, he'll play."
"He's going to get the itch," the personnel director added. "It'll be one of those deals where 'I don't know, I don't know, I don't think,' and then camp will kick off and the preseason games will kick off, and he's never a fan of training camp in the first place, so you can forget that part of it. And then he'll get the itch and, come the second preseason game or third preseason game, he'll show up and then he can be ready for opening day."
Part of that belief, like my own, is based on precedent. That's the exact timeline Favre followed last summer, with the exception of announcing his retirement (again) in February and setting the stage for his release from the New York Jets.
But it might be another story if Favre, who turns 41 in October, hadn't played so well last season.
In a preseason poll I conducted last September, one NFC pro scout rated Favre third among the NFC North Division's quarterbacks -- ahead of then-rookie Matt Stafford but behind Chicago's Jay Cutler and Green Bay's Aaron Rodgers.
"Hindsight's 20/20, but Brett outplayed all three of those guys," the scout said last month. "Brett held up well and they managed him, and I think everybody hit it on the head -- having the ability to run the football, even though they didn't do it as much toward the end, he held up well."
An NFC executive answered the suggestion of Favre considering retirement with a flat "no" and cited Favre's aversion to offseason practices for making the decision difficult "especially this time of the year. It's hard to put that work in. It's an interesting deal with that guy."
Before the draft, another AFC personnel man addressed the Vikings' need for a quarterback of the future within the context that a rookie could "sit behind the wheel of Brett Favre's car and learn from the best."
The Vikings seemed to confirm their stance on Favre's status by passing on quarterbacks in the draft altogether. And the four scouts quoted here are far from alone in regarding Favre's return as all but a foregone conclusion.
It's even possible 2010 -- the final year on Favre's contract, which would pay him $13 million in base salary -- might not be the end either. Mike Florio of the well-connected blog ProFootballTalk.com has reported multiple times over the past month the Vikings think Favre will play through 2011.
Who knows what's going on in Favre's head and his home right now? That's impossible to say, and honestly, none of it truly matters. Not yet.
But for what it's worth, even highly attuned NFL insiders believe that, when all is said and done, Favre will make the same decision he's been making for years: he'll play another season.