Brett Favre says he will play if healthy

Updated: August 5, 2010, 10:34 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

Brett Favre told ESPN's Ed Werder in Hattiesburg, Miss., on Wednesday that he has not made any decision about returning to play for the Minnesota Vikings this season and said he will play if healthy.

[+] EnlargeBrett Favre
AP Photo/Rogelio V. SolisBrett Favre tossed a football around with high school players in Hattiesburg, Miss., on Wednesday.

Favre's agent, Bus Cook, told The Associated Press on Wednesday that the quarterback has an appointment with Dr. James Andrews next week and will know more at that time. Andrews performed surgery on Favre's ankle in May.

"He's working out really hard and everything seems to indicate that if he is healthy and can contribute and play at the level that he has become accustomed to, he will play," Cook said.

Favre denied sending text messages to Vikings teammates and club officials that might have indicated he had decided to retire.

On Tuesday, Vikings tight end Visanthe Shiancoe said Favre texted his teammates and told them he plans to retire. Shiancoe added he did not receive any direct messages from Favre, but learned of the texts from several teammates.

"Shank, that's why I love him ... all right guys I gotta go," Favre said, when informed of Shiancoe's comments.

Shiancoe said Wednesday he still had not heard from Favre directly and declined further comment.

Favre told ESPN that he has decided to play for Minnesota in 2010 if his surgically repaired ankle heals but said the fact he has not been able to decide his future reflects his level of concern about regaining his health.

Vikings offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell said Wednesday that the veteran quarterback plans to return to the team if he is healthy.

"I know it's a decision that he wrestles with," Bevell said. "He's a great player. He's a great competitor. He mulls things over. He's an emotional guy. So he thinks things through long and hard and takes his time with his decision. So I'm not surprised that things started to come out. We just have to wait and see."

Bevell, who became close friends with Favre during three years as his quarterbacks coach in Green Bay, said he has spoken to Favre recently, but not in the last 24 hours. He said it's been his understanding that if Favre's ankle heals, he will return to play for the Vikings this season.

"That's what I've been getting all along," Bevell said.

He hurt his left ankle in the NFC Championship Game loss to the New Orleans Saints.

Favre responded to a Star Tribune report that the Vikings were prepared to offer him more money for the 2010 season if he would play, insisting that his salary is not a factor in the decision. "It's not about money," he said.

Cook said there have been no negotiations on any adjustments to the deal.

"As far as Brett is concerned, in spite of reports to the contrary, Brett's situation has nothing to do with his contract, but everything to do with his health and ability to contribute to that team and play at a level that he has been accustomed to playing over the years," Cook told the NFL Network.

Favre told ESPN he has a time frame in mind and said he has spoken to the Vikings to make them aware of the approximate date when he will make his decision. He declined to reveal that information to ESPN, however.

"That is up for discussion, but they know and we know, so ..." Favre said.

Favre was at Oak Grove High School in Hattiesburg Wednesday, lightly tossing a football with players in warm-ups. He then helped as the players went through drills.

Favre has made regular appearances at Oak Grove in the summer for several years, working out with players during informal drills as he prepared for the upcoming season.

According to multiple reports Tuesday, Favre informed the Vikings he would not return to Minnesota for a second season. Favre sent text messages to teammates saying, "This is it," league sources told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter.

The Star Tribune reported that the Vikings have offered to increase Favre's salary to $16 million guaranteed -- $3 million more than he was scheduled to make this season, plus another $4 million in incentives that could potentially pay Favre $20 million total for the 2010 season.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said Wednesday during a visit to Ravens camp that he was taking a "wait and hear" approach to the latest twist in the Favre saga.

"We haven't heard from Brett, so we're all reacting to media reports," Goodell said. "So I think I'd wait and hear what Brett has to say."

Goodell said that Favre is "great for our game," but wanted the three-time NFL MVP to make the best decision for himself, not the NFL.

"I think we all love to see him play, but we want him to do what's best for him at the end of the day," Goodell said.

With Favre, of course, nothing is ever necessarily final after 19 NFL seasons. He told the Vikings last year he wouldn't play, but changed his mind and joined them immediately after they broke training camp, with Childress even driving to the airport to pick him up. Camp this year ends on Aug. 12.

An entire advertising campaign has been built around his indecision and his teammates have become accustomed to hourly changes in his status.

"It's been about three years now I've been getting asked the Brett Favre questions," said a grinning Tarvaris Jackson, who would take over as the starter if Favre does not return. "It's kind of part of my life now. I actually might miss it."

Favre has waffled on retiring every summer since 2002. It led to an ugly parting with the Packers that got him traded from Green Bay to the Jets in 2008. After a so-so season in New York, he announced his retirement in early 2009 for the second time, then reconsidered and signed with the Vikings.

He had one of his best seasons last year, with career bests in completion percentage (68.4), quarterback rating (107.2) and fewest interceptions (7), while throwing for 33 TDs and 4,202 yards to lead the Vikings (12-4) to an NFC North title. Most people around the NFL figured he'll come back for another run at what would be a third Super Bowl appearance.

"He is an emotional guy. He does tell you how he's feeling. He is very honest," Bevell said. "That's what I love about him and that's what a lot of people love about him. Sometimes it serves him well, sometimes it doesn't."

Ed Werder is a reporter for ESPN. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.