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Archive for Monday, November 27, 2006

Favre, mentor to square off

November 27, 2006

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— Brett Favre's private jet was revving, ready to take the quarterback and icon back home to another offseason in Mississippi. The Seahawks' team jet was nearby at the airport in Green Bay, readying to fly back to Seattle.

Favre boarded the Seahawks' plane.

No, the 37-year-old quarterback's mind wasn't scrambled last New Year's Day by having just finished the 2005 season with a career-high 29 interceptions. And the furor throughout Wisconsin and beyond that he may have played his final game - a meaningless home win over the Seahawks, who had already clinched the NFC's top playoff seed - didn't have him confused, either.

Favre strolled onto the Seahawks' jet with one of his two daughters, and a purpose. He strolled past stunned, gawking flight attendants. He found his mentor and former Packers coach, Seahawks head man Mike Holmgren, reading up front, sat down next to him and told Holmgren that he was indeed retiring.

"What are you doing here?" Holmgren asked the man he helped turn into a three-time league MVP.

Tonight, Holmgren may be asking Favre the same thing.

Of course, Favre didn't retire last offseason. He doesn't even know if this, his 16th NFL season, will be his last.

Favre won't discuss the topic. Essentially, neither will Packers first-year coach Mike McCarthy.

McCarthy spat out a well-used answer before the question about Favre's future beyond this season was finished.

"We'll talk about that after the season," McCarthy said, flatly.

Holmgren said he spoke with Favre a few times last year about retirement, but hasn't talked to the quarterback about it this year. When asked if he thought tonight's game would be the last time he'd see Favre play in person, Holmgren said, "Well, I thought that last year. I really believed that ... he believed that, too."

Favre will start for the Packers (4-6) against the NFC West-leading Seahawks (6-4) tonight for the 232nd consecutive time in the regular season.

What about leaving last week's loss to New England with a banged elbow and numb fingers on his passing hand? Just another ping off Favre's remarkable armor of longevity.

Besides, he wouldn't want to disappoint the biggest influence on his astounding career.

"I have a tremendous amount of respect for him," said Favre, who has rebounded with 13 touchdowns and just seven interceptions this season. "Without him, I wouldn't be where I am today."

Holmgren coached Favre and the Packers from 1992-98. With Holmgren orchestrating nearly everything Favre was supposed to do - and seething each time the freewheeling passer did whatever he wanted to instead - Favre was league MVP three consecutive times and the Packers won their first Super Bowl since 1968.

"I always called him a stallion, you know, that needed to be harnessed a little bit," Holmgren said while preparing for his fifth game opposing Favre; he is 1-3 in those games.

"He has a side to him that is a little silly at times."

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