It remains to be seen whether Brett Favre will turn out to be more trouble than he’s worth for the Vikings. If they win the Super Bowl? Then who cares how many people he rubs the wrong way.
If they fall on their faces like a Packer fan on a halftime bathroom run? Different story.
Favre himself has endeavored to rub some salve on any raw patches that might already have developed on the skins of his teammates. Recently, the QB called everyone together for a little State of the Brett address, and reportedly used the opportunity to apologize to his fellow Vikings for creating such a nuisance in the weeks leading up to his signing.
Favre then used his Wednesday press conference to explain the reasoning behind his speech to the team. “I asked Brad [Childress] a while back if just at some point I could speak to the team from the heart. I think the guys within these last three weeks have gotten a pretty good judge of what type of guy I am, what type of player.
“It’s obviously different because now in this locker room, amongst this team, one of 53, all the stuff that went on prior to training camp and up until me signing. I just wanted to address, I didn’t feel like I needed to. But I wanted the guys to know where I stood and what I was here for. Sort of the timeline to what happened and things like that.”
And what did Favre’s teammates think of his address? The responses have been positive, at least in public.
“There were questions on everybody’s mind about certain things and he pretty much answered everybody’s questions,” said Visanthe Shiancoe. “He cleaned up everybody’s [questions] and assumptions.”
“He just pretty much reassured everybody that he’s here to win,” added (now former-Viking) Bobby Wade. “No other motives. Can’t promise anything. Just to play hard and stand up like a man and just address everybody like a man. I thought it was well appreciated.”
Evidently, Favre’s magic works on players as well as it works on the media. One “from the heart” talk and everyone thinks he’s the greatest, most stand-up guy they’ve ever met.
Others may feel differently about Favre’s Mr. Honesty act. Like the Jets, for instance. They probably wish Favre would learn to not be so forthcoming in front of reporters. They would probably prefer Brett not bring up certain issues from his time with the team, like the little matter of his injured arm, and whether they were aware of it. Brett says they were. And he says he was willing to sit, even though it would’ve ended his fabled Iron Man streak.
“I was receptive to [sitting] last year,” Brett said. “When we finally did an MRI and found out I had a torn biceps last year, I felt like, with about four or five games left, that even though I was making some pretty good throws and some decent plays, I felt like I was doing the team more harm because I was missing on some throws.”
All water under the dam? Not really. Because now the league is investigating whether the Jets deserve a fine for not putting Favre in the injury report despite their knowledge of his bad arm.
Jets GM Mike Tennenbaum has addressed the matter, saying, “As the GM of this team, I should have handled that differently and listed him on the report. We didn’t, just because he wasn’t getting treatment every day and we knew he was going to play. But looking back now, I should have listed him as probable and we didn’t. I’ll take responsibility for that.”
This of course is not really a Brett Favre issue; it’s more of an Eric Mangini playing Belichick-like games with the injury report issue. The point, though, is that the whole thing would’ve remained under wraps had Favre not blabbed. Like a stroke victim, Favre just can’t seem to censor himself. If he thinks it, he has to say it.
Even if it ends up harming a franchise he claims to have no hard feelings toward.
Of course, Viking fans don’t give a flying frig about Favre v. the Jets. They only care about Favre’s performance on the field. And a few of them, like me, care about Favre’s impact on the locker room. In spite of the happy talk coming out of Favre and his teammates, I’m not entirely convinced that things are harmonious.
It’s clear, for one thing, that Sage Rosenfels was adversely affected by Favre’s post-training camp arrival. Before Favre, Sage looked like starting material. After Favre, Sage looked like the last thing he wanted to be doing was playing quarterback in a Vikings uniform.
Sage will likely keep his mouth shut; after all, being paid a couple of million bucks to stand there and stay quiet ain’t the worst gig in the world. But, eventually, someone is going to get hacked off at Favre, and the feelings will not remain bottled up. Like Brett, they will decide to air their emotions in public. And it will not be pretty.
We may not have to wait long for that to happen. Discord may already be simmering. Indeed, a schism may be forming.
And the catalyst for this rending apart of the Vikings’ team psyche? The Bobby Wade release.
The front office may have decided that Wade didn’t fit, that a different kind of receiver was needed to flesh out the corps, but the fact remains that Wade was a popular guy on the team, a vocal leader and not a fellow you could just game and expect everyone to be cool with it.
Want proof that Wade’s release has already had its effect? How about Bernard Berrian going out for practice today wearing Wade’s jersey (per Chip Scoggins). You may say that was only Berrian paying tribute to his friend, and not Berrian sending a message to the team that he’s irritated at the way the situation was handled. I don’t know that I’d agree with you. And I don’t know that Mike Florio would agree with you after what he posted today on PFT:
In the wake of the Vikings’ abrupt decision to cut receiver Bobby Wade only three days before Week One of the regular season, a league source opines that Minnesota pulled a dirty move on the veteran receiver.
“It’s cardinal sin in a locker room to get a player to reduce his salary and then cut him,” the source said.
That’s the great unknown, for now — the reaction of the rank-and-file to the loss of one of the team’s veteran leaders. But based on the source’s assessment, there likely will be some ruffled feathers.
Yes, you might be saying, but what does this have to do with Favre causing trouble? Florio continues:
The other angle here is the man who caused the original schism reports: Brett Favre. Given that coach Brad Childress has been catering to Favre’s every whim since Favre unretired last month, it’s unlikely that Childress cut Wade without Favre’s approval or consent.
So the perception could (and maybe should) be that Favre could have saved Wade’s job by intervening on his behalf. The fact that he didn’t might stir up some of the resentment that was put to rest once Favre threw a crackback block on Texans safety Eugene Wilson.
Perhaps this is too much speculation, but still, it’s an easy game of connect-the-dots: Favre didn’t want Wade. Childress, being Favre’s bitch, cut Wade despite the salary renegotiation. Friends of Wade, and guys who just overall think teams shouldn’t do that kind of crap, start getting red-assed.
That, my friends, is how locker rooms get torn apart. One guy is perceived as getting preferential treatment; other guys begin to grumble. Ray Edwards sounded the alarm months ago when he openly criticized Favre for acting like he was above his teammates. We were assured that Favre is a great guy who doesn’t expect to be treated any different than anyone else.
But if Favre could have a guy cut despite that guy having just taken one for the team by restructuring his contract? You tell me…does that sound like a dude who’s playing by the same set of rules as everyone else?
Does that sound like a guy who has his teammates’ backs?
Like I said at the start of this endlessly long post: If the Vikings win, none of this will matter. If they lose, Favre’s negative influence will be seen as a major culprit.
And Brad Childress be will be sending out resumes.