Forum Spin Doctor
GREEN BAY, Wis. - It might indeed be his final game, and he might have a shot at the playoffs. But for Brett Favre, the Green Bay Packers' regular-season finale in Chicago on Sunday night feels like any another game.
Making his only public comments this week, Favre said he will need time and space away from football before he can divine some sort of meaning from the game - or decide what he will do next year.
"I don't know what that's like, because I've never gotten away from it," Favre said. "I don't know what that feels like. And so to me it's just another game. It may be the last. But to me, it's just another game."
After recovering from the worst season of his career to help the Packers (7-8) bounce back from last year's 4-12 finish, Favre realizes most people see no reason why he shouldn't come back next season.
Even his own family.
"They've been a little quieter this year, but I'm sure they want me to play for the most part," Favre said. "From the outside looking in, even from the family standpoint, it's easy to say, 'Aw, go back and play.' Because as with most people, you really see the three hours of enjoyment or whatever - the game. You don't really see all the other stuff.
"(Wife) Deanna does. But everyone else is kind of like, 'What are we going to do on Sunday?' I'm like, 'What do you do during the rest of the week?' Yeah, when we lose, you're (ticked) off, but you don't have to deal with it like I do."
Despite the improved record, Favre said the Packers still have "a long ways to go, and I don't have that much time."
Only the Oakland Raiders' offense has been worse than the Packers in the red zone this season.
"We're not playing great," Favre said. "I'm just being honest. I'm not telling you anything you don't know. We can't score a touchdown, we've won a couple of games. Go figure."
Favre isn't happy with the way he has played, either.
"I expect to be more productive, regardless, and I'm not for whatever reason," he said. "I could point to a lot of those, but the bottom line is, I'm not as productive."
Although he's only eight touchdown passes shy of breaking Dan Marino's NFL career record of 420, Favre doesn't feel he has anything left to prove.
"In some ways, I felt like, 'Yeah, why not give it another shot?' In other ways, most ways, I've done a lot in this game, have had a lot of success individually and as a team that there's nothing left really out there for me," Favre said. "And I know sometimes people say, 'Come back and go out on top,' or all that stuff. But what if you don't?"
Long snapper Rob Davis, an 11-year veteran who has been with the Packers since 1997, said retirement decisions are more complicated than they seem to outsiders.
"Obviously, Brett has a lot more success and accolades than I do, but at times it does get a little tiring," Davis said. "Your mind plays tricks on you, like, 'You know what? Maybe it is time for me to turn the page.' So I'm sure he's had those battles with himself. He hasn't told me that, but at his age and my age, I would think you think about that."
If Favre decides he wants to come back, he's probably going to have to do something about that sore left ankle.
He's still considering having arthroscopic surgery in the offseason on the ankle, which has a buildup of bone spurs that was bothering him even before training camp. Favre had surgery on the same ankle after a similar problem in 1995.
Favre said he is reluctant to have surgery because he has gotten used to the pain and the limited range of motion. The pain, he says, is worse in practice because in games, you just "suck it up and go."
"I don't want to sound like John Wayne," Favre said. "It's not, 'Favre's walking around with knives sticking in his foot.' It's painful at times, but there's a lot of people who go through similar things."
Given his past struggles with addiction to prescription painkillers, can he even take medicine to dull the pain?
"I guess I could, if it really came down to it," Favre said. "But that wouldn't help in this case. Because when I wake up in the morning, it takes me, I don't know, a while just to move around and all that stuff. But once I get going during the day, it's tolerable. And to take them during the game, which I never did before, that wouldn't be worth it."
But Favre said the offensive struggles and painful practices haven't prevented him from having fun this year. He just has to decide whether it will still be worth it next year.
"I'm glad I came back. I really am," Favre said. "And I've said this: If I'm out there next year, throwing a touchdown pass and running down the field - 'Man, it looks like he's having a blast' - I know I will do that. And I will do that until they drag me off the field. But there's so much more to it than that."