Less than a month into his Jets career, Brett Favre was voted an offensive captain by his teammates.
"'I felt a little uncomfortable to be voted. I'm honored," the future Hall of Famer said today at his weekly news conference. "As I told [Eric Mangini] yesterday, I feel like I need to earn it. I don't want it to be based on past performances or longevity. All those things are important, but what's important is what I do here and how I carry myself as a teammate."
So far, he's carried himself well. Favre more often that not will tell you he's 38 years old, but his teammates enjoy his youthful exuberance.
"Favre is more about leading by example," said right tackle Damien Woody. "He is not a big rah-rah guy. He's just about going out there having fun. That's the type of leadership I see from him."
Two places below Favre on the quarterback depth chart is Brett Ratliff. Fifteen years the junior of Brett No.1, Ratliff says the Jets' starter is known for his relaxed style.
"One of the biggest things he does for the team is he brings a lot of life, he brings a lot of charisma," Ratliff said. "He knows when to be serious, but he also knows when to have a good time. He lightens up everybody — he lightens the coaches up, he lightens the players up. Be serious but also try to have fun with it."
Some people criticized Favre for being distant from his teammates in Green Bay, but that label is a misconception.
"Did I go hang out with the guys? No," he said. "I couldn't tell you where all the guys lived. I quit drinking 10 years ago. I have a family. So if I was not studying or not at the stadium, I was home or either hunting or playing golf, mostly hunting."
Amongst his new teammates, Favre has always been one of the guys. But at home, he's a husband and a father of two.
"I was at practice every day. I studied film with guys," he said of his time in Green Bay. "I was there for them whenever they needed me. At 8 o'clock at night, I was at home reading a book with my daughter. So if that's bad, then I'm sorry."
The Jets embraced him from the beginning. Jerricho Cotchery, who had a good connection with Favre throughout the summer, is excited to line up with the gunslinger during the regular season.
"I just loved to watch him play because he looked like he had a fun out there on the field," J-Co said. "You always are excited when you see someone who's having a lot of fun doing something they love."
Favre came back so he could play. In no way is he living off past accomplishments.
"As far as being a leader, I think three weeks is a little bit unfair for guys to make that judgment," he said. "I think there are a lot of guys on this team who are worthy of that — not only on offense, but defense and special teams."
A reflective soul, Favre is driven by fear. On Tuesday, he explained his feelings to Jets head coach Eric Mangini.
"I said, 'What drives me is fear of failure, not being the best.' And that goes for each season, each game," he said. "As much success as I've had in my career, I've never gone into the next game or the next season and said, 'Whew, I've been playing well, that will continue.' "
Not only a football legend, Favre owns legendary perspective. Forget the gray you see in the hair and the beard, he's a kid playing a game. He said he sleeps more than he used to, but he still gets butterflies on gamedays.
"The game itself is still a lot of fun — preparing for a team, the challenge that presents to you, studying and trying to scheme ways to beat teams and individual matchups," he said. "The fact that you're doing something that so many people would love to do and to do it for a long time, I'm well aware of how hard that is.
"But each touchdown that I've thrown, each opening day, each game has always been special to me. I never took it for granted."
So following practice, the new captain will watch video with the skill guys.
"We'll sit in there and talk. Guys will bring sandwiches in," he said. "It will be open dialogue. It will be fun."
It always is with No. 4.