Favre's wife doing well
Brett Favre is returning to Green Bay for the 2005 season, Packers coach Mike Sherman told The Associated Press.
|Favre's New Shoes|
Brett Favre will return to the field endorsing a new brand. Nike tabbed the Packers quarterback to endorse its Starter brand, which the company acquired in August. A source within the Nike division told ESPN.com that Favre will appear in television and magazine advertising for Starter, a brand which is prevalent in mass merchandising outlets, with no product exceeding $40.
Favre has been a Nike endorser for almost his entire career. Although he will now be the first face of Starter under the Nike umbrella, Favre will continue to wear Nike shoes since Starter will not have a performance shoe.
Favre will not be allowed to wear any Starter branded apparel on the sidelines during games because the NFL has a league-wide apparel deal with Reebok. Starter was founded in 1971. When the company filed for bankruptcy in April 1999, it had official licensing deals with all four major leagues.
Will Nike officials will make Favre take off that tattered and faded orange Nike Golf hat that has become part of his trademark post-game interview attire? Said the source: "He'll probably wear some Starter hats, but since we're in the same family, I'm sure you'll still see that hat around."
-- Darren Rovell
Sherman said Thursday he had a two-hour conversation with his quarterback on Wednesday night. Favre informed him his wife is doing well in her cancer treatment, so he's planning to play at least one more season, maybe more if his own health holds up.
"It came down to his wife and she's doing well in her recovery," Sherman said. "She wants him to play. He said he's looking forward to playing -- hopefully without any off-the-field situations and 'enjoying the journey."'
The three-time MVP said after the Packers' playoff loss to Minnesota in January he wanted to reflect before committing to playing a 15th NFL season following a year of personal tumult.
His wife, Deanna, was diagnosed with breast cancer in October, a week after the death of her 24-year-old brother in an ATV accident on the quarterback's property in Mississippi.
And Favre was still dealing with the stunning news of Reggie White's death on the day after Christmas, which came about a year after the death of Favre's father, Irv, from a heart attack.
"After the season, he just needed to think about some things," Sherman said. "Any man would have to contemplate his future when his wife is fighting cancer. It's not like he had to work to make money. He didn't want to be a part-time husband and a part-time football player. It came down to his wife. If she's not healthy, it's obviously a different ballgame. But now she's doing good. She wants him to play."
It never was a question of diminished ability because even at 35, Favre is still near the top of his game.
He topped 4,000 yards passing last season and recorded his eighth 30-touchdown season, twice as many as any other quarterback in NFL history, and the Packers set franchise records for total offense and net passing yards in 2004.
"He's always been excited about playing football," Sherman said. "He's never lost his enthusiasm for the game. It's just his family situation was pulling at him."
Next season won't necessarily be Favre's farewell, either.
"As long as he can play at a Brett Favre level, he will," Sherman said, "unless some situation off the field, outside of football, affects him or his family."
Deanna Favre has completed her chemotherapy and is undergoing radiation treatment.
The Favres are helping put on a Faith Hill concert back home Saturday night to benefit breast cancer patients. Favre is scheduled to appear at the Packers' inaugural fan fest that morning in Green Bay.
After the Packers were upset 31-17 by the Vikings in the wild-card round of the playoffs -- Green Bay's second playoff loss at home in three years -- Favre said he needed some time to figure out his future.
Last season, Favre extended his record of 225 consecutive starts at quarterback, despite being on the injured report three times. Since his first start on Sept. 27, 1992, 183 other quarterbacks have made their NFL debut.
Because Favre hasn't spoken publicly about his plans, it wasn't known before Thursday whether the retooled coaching staff, the stripping of Sherman's GM duties in favor of Ted Thompson or the loss of starting guards Marco Rivera and Mike Wahle in free agency would play a role in his decision.
Rivera signed with Dallas and Wahle with Carolina last week, leaving two gaping holes in an offensive line that allowed a franchise-low 14 sacks last season.
Sherman said the only thing Favre had to say about the loss of the guards was they deserved the multimillion-dollar bonuses they received.
"I told him we'll get that fixed," Sherman said. "It never was an issue. Brett said he was excited about what we did on offense last year and he thinks we can do more this year.
"Obviously, his major thing is to win another Super Bowl and he's excited about having that chance."
Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press
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