Childress knows Favre better now
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- Brad Childress sat forward in his chair and, in his scratchy, out-of-key baritone, started an old Rodgers and Hammerstein show tune.
"Getting to know you. Getting to know all about you," Childress sang, the melody barely detectable.
This was the Minnesota Vikings coach's unique explanation of his first season with Brett Favre, the behind-the-scenes back-and-forth that helped frame the man behind the helmet and all those NFL records.
"I don't profess to be a Favre-istorian or anything like that," Childress said.
The education hasn't stopped for Childress, whose recently returned from his second visit this year to Favre's home in Mississippi. Childress didn't return to Minnesota with a better idea about his starting quarterback for the season, he said, but he did bring back an even stronger understanding of Favre's way of life and his way of thinking.
"The deep south is different, and he'd be the first to tell you that," Childress said on Friday afternoon in an interview with The Associated Press at team headquarters.
The coach recalled his drive to Hattiesburg from New Orleans, bewildered by all the bugs hitting his windshield.
"I felt like it was raining," Childress said. "He goes, 'That's the deep south, Brad.'"
Recovering from left ankle surgery and working out with the local high schoolers, Favre has yet to declare his intention for 2010. Childress said the situation was "all quiet" a week before training camp starts.
Continuing to speak in uncertainties about Favre's return, seen around the football world as a foregone conclusion, Childress said the time spent with Favre has given him more clarity about the 40-year-old's thought process related to continuing his career. He also said those conversations and observations will help grow their relationship should Favre decide to play a 20th season.
Childress downplayed the sideline clash over Favre's safety they had during a December game at Carolina while the Vikings' offense was struggling. He said the time it took to learn each other's idiosyncrasies was natural.
"Yeah, we banged heads. Like once," Childress said. "You could say I knew him from the outside and I knew his body of work, but I probably didn't know the wiring that was involved with that. Safe to say he didn't know how I was wired."
The Vikings have a lot of other good players and a lot of other intriguing storylines, but none of them captivate quite such as Favre, love or loathe. Though the coach was relaxed as can be at the office, wearing sandals, shorts and a purple polo on the verge of his last quiet summer weekend, Favre is clearly on his mind. Twice, Childress was asked about his own lingering feelings from the NFC Championship Game loss to the Saints, and in both answers he found a way to work in a couple comments about Favre.
Childress also said there's no rift between him and running back Adrian Peterson, who missed the mandatory minicamp last month to attend a hometown festival in his honor in Texas.
"We're both men. It wasn't earth-shattering. It wasn't the end of the world by any stretch of the imagination," Childress said.
Will it be the end of the world if Favre doesn't come back? The always placid coach wouldn't acknowledge any anxiety about it.
"He knows that nothing's promised," Childress said. "He can say he's coming back and pull a calf the first day, and he can't get over it. ... He knows how fragile this thing is."
Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press
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