The Vikings coach visited Favre on Wednesday in Hattiesburg, Miss., after attending the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis. Childress relayed the same message to Favre that he has shared with others: The organization will put no pressure on the future Hall of Famer to make a quick decision.
“He brought it up to me — ‘When are you guys going to need to know?’” said Childress, who told the Minneapolis Star Tribune of his visit on Friday. “I said, ‘You know what, Brett? That’s not why I came down here. I came down here to see how you’re doing. It’s been five weeks since we played.’ We hashed through the season, we hashed through (the year he spent with) the Jets. We went backward and forward (on various subjects).”
Although Childress spent much of last spring and summer recruiting Favre to end his retirement, this marked his first trip to Favre’s home just outside of Hattiesburg. Favre showed Childress around his property, and the two went to Favre’s mother-in law’s house at 6:30 in the morning for breakfast.
Childress, who left Thursday, was even present as Favre tried on clothes for his appearance with Leno. “He’s standing there in dirty shoes and khaki pants,” Childress said. “His wife’s putting this and this and this (in front of him). I said, ‘Deanna, you can do whatever you want, but he’s going to wear what he wants.’ I knew he was going to wear a T-shirt.”
During his appearance with Leno, Favre wore a sport coat and T-shirt and remained noncommittal about next season. “It’s only been a month” since the season ended, he said, “and I know now that I’m just not going to say anything anytime soon, just going to kind of sit back, relax, enjoy the offseason.”
Childress, who talked to Favre for the first time since the Vikings’ loss in the NFC title game during two phone conversations just before the combine, made it clear Favre’s success means he has the right to take his time in making a decision. Favre passed for 4,202 yards with 33 touchdowns and a career-low seven interceptions this season. Interestingly, it sounded as if Childress felt the need to reassure Favre that he didn’t need to rush to make up his mind. Favre will turn 41 in October.
“He’s earned the latitude,” Childress said. “I guess I would say this. There wasn’t a manual for a 40-year-old quarterback. All the naysayers said, ‘The guy has got a bad arm, he finished the year poorly (in 2008). Didn’t come to OTAs, didn’t want to come to ...’ And everybody made him bad for that. No training camp. As I told him, ‘Check all those off the list.’”
Childress then continued to give examples of what those who doubted Favre had to say last season.
“’Well, he’s doing good in September, but he’s a game manager, he can’t throw deep,’” Childress said, recalling the early season opinions on his quarterback. "OK, well check that off. ‘Well you know what? I watched him play early in the season, but we’ve got to see him play in December. He could fall apart by December.’ Well, check that off.
“Like I told him, ‘There wasn’t a manual for a 40-year-old, Brett.’ And I took him through it. I checked them all off. I said, ‘You know what? There’s not one for a 41-year-old quarterback.’ But people can’t (complain) now and say this and guess about that and wonder about this because it’s just all been done. It’s just a matter of where your heart is.”