Brett Favre insisted this Sunday will be his last appearance as a player at Lambeau Field.
Unless his Minnesota Vikings should happen to face his old team, the Green Bay Packers, again in the playoffs.
Or unless this really isn’t his final NFL season as he has said it is.
In a conference call with reporters at Lambeau Field on Wednesday, Favre was asked how anyone could really believe this will be his last season.
“That’s a good question,” Favre said. “You know, it is. Just hold your pen. We’ll see what happens. But that’s probably why everyone’s like, ‘yeah we’ll wait and see.’ But let’s get through this game, and we’ll figure out what happens the rest of the year, but that’s the way I plan on ending it.”
In a much less combative conference call than he conducted last season with reporters who cover the Packers, Favre spoke openly about the reaction he received from Packers’ fans last season, his relationship with Packers coach Mike McCarthy and General Manager Ted Thompson, the Vikings’ struggles this season and his elbow problems.
But he wasn’t willing to discuss the NFL’s investigation into allegations he sent inappropriate text messages to a former Jets employee during the 2008 season when he played in New York after the Packers traded him. He wouldn’t offer any details about his meeting with NFL security personnel on Tuesday nor would he answer whether he’s embarrassed about the incident.
“That’s a league issue,” Favre said. “As I’ve said, my focus is on the next opponent. Obviously that’s Green Bay. As I said the other night, I’m reluctant to say I’m excited about coming back. I know how tough it is to play there. But it’s a huge challenge, one that we need a victory. This is a race to the finish, so we need it.”
Favre was listed on the Vikings’ injury report as being limited in practice Wednesday because of ankle and right elbow injuries. He took a cortisone injection last week before the Vikings’ win over Dallas to help ease the tendinitis in his throwing elbow and said it felt much better.
Some returns: Linebackers Brandon Chillar (shoulder) and Clay Matthews (hamstring) both returned to practice on a limited basis and appear to have decent chances of playing against the Vikings.
The Packers missed Matthews’ pass rush ability in last week’s loss to Miami. Without his 8˝ sacks, the Packers never got much pressure on Dolphins’ quarterback Chad Henne. Matthews dropped out of the previous week’s loss at Washington and didn’t practice at all last week.
“Everything went very well in his work today,” McCarthy said after practice. “Hopefully he is past this, and we can get him back out on the practice field.”
Chillar has missed the last three games because of the shoulder injury he sustained Sept. 27 at Chicago. He tried to come back last week but had a setback in practice.
“I think it was a smart decision to take that extra week,” Chillar said. “I feel good, and that’s mainly because I didn’t play last week.”
However, there were other linebacker issues. A.J. Hawk (groin) did not practice, and Brady Poppinga (knee) has been ruled out.
Defensive end Ryan Pickett, who missed the Miami game with an ankle injury, returned on a limited basis, but defensive tackle Mike Neal (shoulder) has been ruled out for a second straight week.
Tackle Mark Tauscher (shoulder) returned to practice on a limited basis, but there was no indication he would move back into the starting lineup in place of rookie Bryan Bulaga.
Safety Nick Collins (knee) and receiver Donald Driver (quadriceps) did not practice but are expected to play against the Vikings.
Helmet hits: Like every NFL team, the Packers received a memo Wednesday from commissioner Roger Goodell notifying teams that more significant discipline, including suspensions, will be imposed on players that strike an opponent in the head or neck area in violation of the rules.
The league also sent an accompanying video that each head coach was instructed to show to his players and coaches. The video includes examples of illegal hits and legal hits.
“Game officials have been directed to emphasize protecting players from illegal and dangerous hits, and particularly from hits to the head and neck,” Goodell wrote in the memo. “In appropriate cases, they have the authority to eject players from a game.”
The memo was the result of several dangerous hits in last week’s games. The league imposed $175,000 worth of fines to three players — Pittsburgh’s James Harrison, New England’s Brandon Meriweather and Atlanta’s Dunta Robinson — for illegal hits, none of which drew penalties.
“I think it’s moving in the right direction in terms of trying to protect the players,” Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers said. “This is a player’s game. Some are unavoidable. Some are probably avoidable. The nature of the game is it’s a violent sport. I think the NFL is trying to protect against the ones that could be refrained if you just show some self control.”
Roster move: Defensive tackle Jay Ross was added to the practice squad in place of running back James Johnson, who was released.
Ross, a 6-foot-3 and 302-pound rookie, spent the preseason with the New Orleans Saints before being released in the final roster cuts. He entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent from East Carolina.