Teammates, Childress deny knowledge of Brett Favre's latest retirement plan
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MANKATO, Minn. -- Brad Childress held an extended team meeting at midfield after Tuesday's morning practice, and the Minnesota Vikings' coach and his players emerged with a unified message for reporters regarding Brett Favre.
No one's heard anything. Nothing is final. Nothing has changed.
"Nothing's really happened," linebacker Ben Leber said, hours after reports surfaced Favre had told the Vikings he's not playing this season.
"So, we can't sit there and speculate on 'what if?' All we've got to do and concentrate on the guys we have here, and that's all we can do."
Several other players echoed the same phrases -- many beginning with "until it's official" -- and Childress denied he had heard anything definitive, saying the situation remains "fluid."
There were several strong indications, however, that plenty had changed as of early Tuesday afternoon -- even if Favre's history strongly suggests this saga is far from over.
• A little after 9 a.m., Vikings vice president of football operations Rob Brzezinski -- the team's money man -- rushed onto the practice field to join a powwow including owner Zygi Wilf, team president Mark Wilf, vice president of football operations Rick Spielman, Childress and others.
• Shortly after, a source told 1500ESPN.com that Favre had told the Vikings, or would soon, that he planned to stay retired instead of playing a 20th NFL season.
• On-field meetings of the Vikings' braintrust continued throughout practice, with Zygi Wilf periodically walking along the sideline on his cell phone.
Multiple reports also said Favre spoken with and/or texted teammates to tell them he's done.
Asked whether he'd received a text, end Jared Allen said, "I plead the fifth on everything."
Allen added, "I love Brett, but he deserves the right to do what he wants to do. We obviously love him as a teammate. We'd love to have him back. But until it's official, I ain't -- I'll believe it when I see it. And right now, we're just going to focus on who we've got here."
Childress said he has spoken with Favre in the past 24 hours but said the conversation revolved around other topics, including receiver Percy Harvin, who has left the team to tend to a death in his family.
Pressed specifically about whether Favre had said he's not going to play, Childress said flatly, "He has not."
Childress also said he's not concerned about Favre physically, despite surgery on the 40-year-old quarterback's surgically repaired left ankle. And Favre has provided no timetable for making a decision, said Childress, who isn't pressing him.
"He's a 40-year-old man," Childress said. "He's just got to come to grips with it."
Tarvaris Jackson has run the starting offense during training camp and stands to be the starting quarterback if Favre doesn't return.
But as Jackson knows well, things tend to change quickly with Favre, who has retired and unretired each of the past two seasons.
Asked whether he's ready to be done with answering the same questions, Jackson said, "Pretty much. It's been about three years now I've been answering the Brett Favre questions. It's kind of part of my life now, so I actually might miss it."
Said Allen, "I hope we see him in a couple weeks. But the sun's going to rise tomorrow and we're going to have football, whether Brett's here or not. ... We've played football without him once before. If we have to do it again, we'll have to do it again."