Eden Prairie, Minn. As far as Brett Favre was concerned, he was finished.
Last we saw the 40-year-old quarterback in action, he was barely able to walk off the Superdome turf, his body aching from the beating the New Orleans Saints delivered in January’s NFC title game.
Favre was one play away from his goal — taking the Minnesota Vikings to the Super Bowl — when he threw an interception in the final minute of regulation, then watched from the sidelines as the Saints kicked the winning field goal in overtime.
“Believe me, when I left New Orleans, a big part of me was — I don’t want to say done — but the fact that we lost that game, how hard it is,” Favre said, his voice trailing off.
Ryan Longwell, Steve Hutchinson and Jared Allen, his three closest friends on the team, unexpectedly arrived at his doorstep Monday night.
“We need an answer, yes or no,” they told Favre. “We’re either going home with you or moving on without you.”
So here we are, with Favre about to start his 20th NFL season.
Tebow misses practice
Englewood, Colo. — Rookie quarterback Tim Tebow’s first foray into an NFL end zone appears to have left him with injured ribs.
Denver’s rookie quarterback missed his first practice of training camp on Wednesday after jogging off the field during warmups. While the Broncos aren’t saying what’s wrong with him, Tebow might be feeling the effects of his game-ending touchdown run Sunday night.
Cowboys guard out a month
Oxnard, Calif. — Dallas Cowboys left guard Kyle Kosier is expected to miss at least a month because of a sprained knee.
Bills safety Byrd out indefinitely
Toronto — Buffalo Bills starting safety Jairus Byrd is out indefinitely and could miss the season opener after having surgery for the third time in 13 months to repair a groin injury.
Manning will miss Saturday’s game
Albany, N.Y. — Eli Manning is going to sit out the New York Giants’ preseason game against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Saturday.
Coach Tom Coughlin announced the decision after a scarred Manning did not practice on Wednesday at training camp at the University at Albany because of stitches in his forehead.
Ryan disappointed in Dungy
Cortland, N.Y. — Rex Ryan wants Tony Dungy to know he’s more than just a foul-mouthed coach.
Dungy criticized the New York Jets coach earlier this week for his Rex-pletive-filled appearance on the premiere episode of HBO’s “Hard Knocks.”
“The thing is, I’ve been a big admirer of Tony Dungy, and I’m sure a lot of people are,” Ryan said Wednesday. “I felt that he unfairly judged me, and that was disappointing to me.”
Blount strikes again
Nashville, Tenn. — This punch won’t be so costly for LeGarrette Blount.
The rookie running back capped off a feisty night practice for the Tennessee Titans with a short punch to the helmet of defensive end Eric Bakhtiari a few moments after having his own helmet ripped off for the second time in two plays.
Blount was suspended for most of last season with Oregon after he decked a Boise State player after a game.
Ashburn, Va. — Washington Redskins defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth was sidelined for another practice Wednesday, this time with lingering effects from dehydration.
Caddy sees no split with Tiger
Wellington, New Zealand — Steve Williams doesn’t believe his job as Tiger Woods’ caddie is under any threat, despite media speculation about their 11-year association and concern over the champion golfer’s form.
Anelka scoffs at suspension
Paris — Nicolas Anelka says he isn’t interested in playing again for France, a day after he received an 18-match suspension from the national soccer team for his outburst against the coach during the World Cup.
Report: BYU close to leaving MWC
ESPN.com reported on Wednesday night that Brigham Young is inching closer to leaving the Mountain West Conference, becoming a football independent and rejoining the Western Athletic Conference in all other sports by a Sept. 1 deadline. The Cougars would reportedly withdraw from the MWC in time for the 2011 season.
Lee traded to Braves for prospects
Atlanta — The NL East-leading Atlanta Braves bulked up for the pennant chase Wednesday, acquiring first baseman Derrek Lee from the Chicago Cubs for three minor-league pitchers.
Atlanta already had Troy Glaus at first base, but, in an unexpected move, the team put him on the 15-day disabled list.
MLBPA files grievance against Mets
New York — The players’ union filed a grievance against the New York Mets and the commissioner’s office Wednesday, protesting how the team has handled Francisco Rodriguez since he was injured in a fight at Citi Field.
The Major League Baseball Players Association is challenging the Mets’ decision to place the record-setting closer on the disqualified list and their effort to convert his contract to a non-guaranteed deal.
Boston’s Cameron done for year
Boston — Red Sox center fielder Mike Cameron will have season-ending surgery to repair a torn abdominal muscle.
VCU coach signs 2-year extension
Richmond, Va. — Virginia Commonwealth University men’s basketball head coach Shaka Smart has signed a two-year contract extension. The school announced the deal Wednesday.
UW athletics pushing new building
Madison, Wis. — Wisconsin athletic officials are asking for a $76.8 million athletic-performance center in the next two-year state budget, just five years after a $109.5-million expansion of Camp Randall Stadium. The University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents will review the request today.