Brett Favre could face end of consecutive games streak, but few are counting on it
Sunday, October 31, 2010; 12:12 AM
The melodrama never seems to end when it comes to Brett Favre. If it's not a cycle of retirement and un-retirement or a personal crisis playing out in public, it is the latest threat to the quarterback's durability record.
Through three teams, countless jarring hits and numerous injuries that have included even a broken thumb on his throwing hand, Favre has played on. There haven't been too many constants in the last 18 years in the NFL, a league known for its "any given Sunday" unpredictability. But there has been at least one: Favre playing quarterback.
He has started an NFL-record 291 straight games - 315 in a row, including the postseason - and has managed to put himself in the conversation, alongside baseball legend Cal Ripken, about the greatest iron men in sports.
Favre spent time during the week in a walking boot having a stress fracture and an avulsion fracture in his left ankle and heel diagnosed. But even with his midweek acknowledgment that he could give way Sunday to Tarvaris Jackson and his problems on the field and off it before the injury, those who know Favre best would be surprised to see him out of the lineup when the Vikings take the field at Gillette Stadium for their 4:15 p.m. kickoff.
"If there's any way, he'll play," said Antonio Freeman, formerly Favre's top wide receiver with the Green Bay Packers. "If there's any possible way he can help his team, he'll play. If there's any way he can wobble or limp or whatever, he'll play."
On Saturday, Favre told ESPN that his health had improved and that he expects to play.
Freeman was with the Packers in 2003 when Favre played with a broken right thumb.
"When he played with that broken thumb and he played at a high level, that was amazing," Freeman said. "We were all getting ready for [backup] Doug Pederson to play. Doug took all the reps in practice. It was only about three hours before kickoff when they decided to give it a try. . . . Michael Jordan had some of his best nights with the flu. I look at Brett the same way: iconic figure, a guy who will play through anything."
Former Washington Redskins quarterback Joe Theismann said he worked as a broadcaster in the first game that Favre played with his broken thumb, and called it "phenomenal" that Favre not only played, but played well.
"He threw the ball like nothing was wrong," Theismann said. "It ranks right up there with Reggie White having a completely torn hamstring and saying, 'The Lord will heal me,' and then playing."
Favre has suffered other significant injuries during his streak, including a midfoot sprain during a game in 2000, a sprained lateral collateral ligament in his left knee during a 2002 game and a concussion during a game in 2004. He played through pain in his right biceps late in the 2008 season with the New York Jets. He has played with elbow pain this season after undergoing offseason ankle surgery following a rugged loss to the New Orleans Saints in last season's NFC title game.