Thursday, October 30, 2008
Sports NewsMayfield's Mutterings: A 'Wicked' weekend

Favre focused despite issues on and off field

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[October 30, 2008]  FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP) -- Brett Favre was looking for a quick weather update about an hour before practice, asking reporters if anyone had spotted any rain or snow.

CivicThe inclement weather hadn't started yet, but someone mentioned they saw a deer on their way to the New York Jets' training facility Wednesday morning.

"Alive or dead?" asked a smiling Favre, an avid hunter. "It wasn't me. Promise."

Favre has gotten used to defending himself lately, and through it all, the veteran quarterback has maintained he's been unfazed.

"It hasn't lingered, hasn't distracted me," said Favre, who acknowledged this season has been perhaps his toughest challenge. "I hate to say I'm used to it and, kind of like positive stories or things being said about you, how you handle those to me are equally as important. If you start believing all the hype, good or bad, I think you're on your way out."

Favre's focus has come into question lately because he's thrown seven interceptions in the last three games while taking some hard shots on and off the field. He spent most of his news conference last week acknowledging a report he spoke to then-Lions president Matt Millen last month, but denying he gave him game planning information for the Lions to use against his former Green Bay teammates.


"To me, I am probably less affected by those stories than my family," Favre said. "Understandably so."

Favre's wife, Deanna, wrote on the family's blog last Friday that the last few weeks have been tough and taken a "daily toll" on her husband.

"My heart has been very heavy," Deanna Favre wrote. "I have stood by ... silently ... watching the media continually attack my husband. Certainly, having been in public life for 18 years, this is not new to us. However, this latest round of media scrutiny has been harder, more disheartening and seemingly unending."

She also said Favre's character has been unfairly questioned and that he doesn't "in any way, hold a vendetta against his former team."

"Not all stories are positive and families are families," the quarterback said. "You stick up for one another, and regardless of what situation you're in. Obviously, this is a unique situation being a pro football player and doing it for a long time, and because of that, you're in the public eye and things happen, things are said.

"But, you know, once again, families are families, and I would stick up for my wife as well."

Favre said things between him and Millen are fine, despite the attention the story got.

"I don't think he owes me an apology," Favre said. "I don't think anything was done wrong. I talked to Matt last week or whatever after all that came out, and nothing was wrong. He doesn't have to apologize to me."

Favre said he's focused only on preparing for the Jets' next game at Buffalo. And, there's plenty to work on. After an impressive start, Favre has been prone to making bad gambles in key spots.

"You just stress, don't hit on 20," coach Eric Mangini said. "Sometimes it's OK to stay and see what the dealer has. You're not trying to reel them in and not trying to coach them out of being a good player. You're just trying to reinforce that everything needs to be calculated risk."

When told of the blackjack reference by his coach, Favre laughed.

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"I used to always take hits on 16," he said. "Believe it or not, I'm not a gambler. I know it sounds crazy. I would sit at the table and everyone gets up because, 'That guy takes hits on everything.' Believe me, I'm well aware of what's expected of me, how important it is to take care of the ball."

On the last of his three interceptions in a 28-24 win against Kansas City on Sunday, Favre was backpedaling when he tossed a ball out to Chansi Stuckey in tight coverage. Brandon Flowers picked it off and went 91 yards for a go-ahead touchdown midway through the fourth quarter.

"With Brett, he has to know when to just throw it away, just get rid of it," Mangini said. "Sometimes, there's nothing there and that's OK. Throw it away."

Still, Favre was at his best when it counted, leading the Jets downfield for the winning touchdown with a minute left.

"I know statistically speaking, you turn the ball over more than your opponents, you lose," he said. "Well, that's two times in three weeks we've won. Now, can you make a living doing that? Every coach, every statistician would tell you no, and I don't plan on doing that."

Favre and the Jets (4-3) will have a tough task this weekend at Buffalo (5-2), where they could potentially give themselves a share of the AFC East lead with a victory.

"I think it would do a lot for us from a team standpoint, really, just that to me, a feeling that a team has, like, 'Oh, OK, we could be pretty good,'" Favre said. "That means more than anything. And, right now, I think we're getting close to that point where we see that we can overcome mistakes and still win."

[Associated Press; By DENNIS WASZAK Jr.]

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.




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