Vikings quarterback Brett Favre has 1 regret about Jets stint _ it didn’t end better

By Barry Wilner, AP
Friday, October 8, 2010

Favre’s 1 regret about Jets? It didn’t end better

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — Brett Favre easily could be bitter about his one season as a New York Jet.

The team fell apart down the stretch after an 8-3 start. The seemingly indestructible Favre tore the biceps in his right arm, an injury that forced the second of his three temporary retirements. He seemed to get old in a hurry.

Instead, Favre has mostly fond memories about wearing green and white after 16 seasons in Packers gold and green. That he’s played another two years in Vikings purple perhaps has alleviated some of the negativity from his stint in the Meadowlands.

“Of course, the start was amazing, probably more so than anyone could’ve envisioned,” Favre said Thursday in a conference call ahead of Minnesota’s visit to the New Meadowlands Stadium to face the Jets on Monday night. “I had a lot of good friends. I played with a lot of good players.

“My only regret is it didn’t end better.”

Actually, it ended miserably.

Favre, who never misses a game and will extend his record of consecutive starts to 289 on Monday, was banged up. The offense managed just 51 points in four losses down the stretch. The only win was gifted to New York by Buffalo on a late turnover.

The collapse cost coach Eric Mangini his job.

“I take a lot of the blame for the fall at the end,” Favre said. “I was injured. There’s no question my accuracy and velocity made a big difference in the passing game in the latter part of the year. In hindsight, I look back and think maybe I should have sat. It was discussed, but I wanted to finish the job that I started.”

New York started over after that season, hiring Rex Ryan to replace Mangini and putting together a plan to bring in a new franchise quarterback — Mark Sanchez of Southern California.

But first, the Jets spoke with Favre, who still was their property even though he didn’t expect to ever suit up again.

“I was thinking that we wanted to draft Mark some way, somehow,” Ryan said. “We knew we had to move up (in the draft), we just never knew how far or if somebody would move up before us. That was our target.

“We wanted him … but don’t kid yourself, I would have tried to recruit (Favre) if we were unsuccessful in getting Mark.”

Ryan talked to Favre when the quarterback announced his second retirement in February 2009. The coach said he felt uncomfortable because he had no history with Favre.

“I almost felt like a fan talking to him, letting him know how much I appreciated him.”

Did Ryan actually recruit Favre? Depends on who you ask.

“I want to say it was right before the draft,” said Favre, who turns 41 Sunday. “I talked to Rex and to Mike (Tannenbaum, the Jets’ general manager). At that time, I didn’t really know what I wanted to do. I really felt like the writing was on the wall. Here I am pushing 40 with a torn bicep. I felt like that was the wakeup call I was looking for, if you will.

“They had asked if I wanted to come back and I was like, ‘I don’t want them to go through a surgery and stuff,’” Favre added.

“As far as actively recruiting him, I did not,” Ryan said. “Trust me, if I had tried to recruit him, he would have known. He would have had to kick me off the porch. Come get me because I would have given my ‘A’ game, not a ‘D’ game.”

The Jets did move up in the draft and got Sanchez, who became a starter as a rookie and helped New York make the playoffs — coincidentally with another 9-7 record. He’s got New York at 3-1 this season and has eight touchdown passes and no interceptions.

Favre asked for and was given his release by the Jets, and a few months later was headed to Minnesota.

Now, he’s headed back to New Jersey for a prime-time matchup and with the Vikings struggling at 1-2.

How will he be greeted?

“I would hope like with any place I’ve played, the people appreciate the effort I’ve given,” he said. “Trust me, I take a lot of the blame, as a quarterback should. We probably get way too much glory.

“I did all that I could do and I hope that they appreciate that. That doesn’t mean they have to like me. I know I’m coming in as an opponent.”

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