Favre takes the field with Vikings
The lure of playing for a team with Super Bowl aspirations is what brought quarterback Brett Favre back to the Minnesota Vikings.
Speaking at a packed new conference after taking part in his first practice with the Vikings on Wednesday, Favre said returning for a 20th season wasn't an easy decision.
"It was very tough, obviously," he said. "I could make the case for both, playing; not playing. I think ultimately much has been made about three guys coming down [to Mississippi]. It was really about the team.
"Part of me said it was such a great year, it would be easy to say, 'Hey, can't play any better, why even try?' Then the other part is, 'Guys are playing on a high level. Why don't I go back out?' The expectations are high here, as they should be."
With Favre contemplating his future, the team sent his three closest friends on the team — Steve Hutchinson, Jared Allen and Ryan Longwell — to Hattiesburg, Miss., on Tuesday in an attempt convince the future Hall of Famer to return for a 20th season.
Hours later, Favre boarded a private jet trimmed in the Vikings' purple and gold and it landed at an airport outside Minneapolis. Favre, who was followed by news helicopters, was then whisked to Viking headquarters and disappeared into the building.
"Helicopters acting like they are following O.J.," tight end Visanthe Shiancoe tweeted. "Where is the bronco."
Favre had off-season ankle surgery that he suffered during the NFC championship game against the New Orleans Saints.
"As we were driving on that last drive [against the Saints] it seemed like it was destiny — for us," Favre said. "I was so close, so close to getting these guys to the Super Bowl ... I owe it to this organization to give it one more try."
The surgery fuelled speculation — yet again — that the quarterback would finally end his 19-year career.
But Favre said he "can't complain" about his health.
"I've played in 309 straight games. I can't complain," he said. "I feel as good as I felt last year."
Favre returned to the field exactly one year to the day he signed a two-year $25-million US contract with the Vikings.
"Obviously, Brett was a huge part of what we were able to accomplish last year. That goes without saying. We wanted him back," Vikings coach Brad Childress said. "It wasn't me wanting him back, it was we wanting him back."
The three-time MVP is reportedly getting a raise for this upcoming season, with his base salary increasing to $16.5 million, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune.
The paper also reported that Favre could also earn an additional $3.5 million in incentives based on post-season success.
Despite missing all of training camp to this point, Favre shouldn't take much time to get back into a groove.
Faced with a similar situation last year, Favre, who turns 41 in October, enjoyed one of the finest statistical seasons of his career by throwing for 33 touchdowns and only seven interceptions last season.
The three-time MVP set career bests in completion percentage (68.4), quarterback rating (107.2) and fewest interceptions, while throwing for 4,202 yards.
With files from The Associated Press