The League

Leonard Shapiro
Columnist

Leonard Shapiro

Washington Post sports reporter, editor and columnist who has served on the NFL HOF Selection Committee.

One more run

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Surprise, surprise, Brett Favre is going to play football again for the Minnesota Vikings this season. Oh please. What else was he going to do, play touch football in blue jeans with his Mississippi buds?

Writers write, actors act and professional football players play professional football until someone rips the uniform off their backs and tells them they're too hurt, too slow or too old to keep going. Very rarely do they walk away on their own.

After a season that saw Favre, at age 40, throw for 4,202 yards and 33 touchdowns, with only seven interceptions, and lead a very talented Vikings team to the NFC title game, there is every reason to believe he still has it in him to take his team deep into the playoffs and perhaps even a Super Bowl one more time.

There will be all manner of speculation as to why he's coming back. Some will say he has $13 million reasons for reversing his field for a third straight year, with the possibility of earning millions more in incentive money. Others will say he didn't want to go out with the last pass of his career long remembered as an interception that helped New Orleans advance to the Super Bowl, and ultimately win its first league title.

I suspect that Favre, a guaranteed first ballot Hall of Famer when he's eligible, was told last week by noted orthopedist James Andrews that his surgically repaired ankle should hold up for one more season of abuse. And most of all, he had to be mightily moved by three of his teammates showing up at his doorstep Tuesday to tell him how much they loved playing with him and to implore him to give it one last shot.

The Vikings, with a healthy Favre, the league's best back in Adrian Peterson and a stout defense, should be a powerhouse team once again, capable of handily prevailing in their weak division. Along with the Saints, they have to be considered the two strongest teams in the conference, and wouldn't a rematch in the NFC title game provide the most compelling confrontation of the season, at least until the championship game in Dallas two weeks later?

Favre's repeated soap opera, will-he-or-won't-he offseasons may seem a tad tiresome after all these years, though certainly not to the league's network partners, who know a ratings bonanza when they see it. The man obviously loves to play the game. We all ought to love him back a bit and admire his extraordinary durability and uncanny skills one more time. Surely, this will be the last time. Then again...

By Leonard Shapiro  |  August 18, 2010; 9:23 AM ET  | Category:  Brett Favre , Leonard Shapiro , Minnesota Vikings , NFL , Quarterbacks , Super Bowl Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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