Brett Favre is not just a straight shooter on the football field. The quarterback, who's had four news conferences since becoming a Jet last week, consistently drops back and delivers honesty from the podium.
After Favre's fifth practice with the Green & White this morning, Dave Hutchinson, the long-time Newark Star-Ledger beat reporter, asked the new Jets QB about all the work that leads up to gameday.
"I still don't like it," Favre said. "I wondered this morning, 'What in the heck am I doing?' "
The 38-year-old followed up his response with a smile before explaining himself further.
"The answer to that question is I love to play. I hate to study," he said. "At times I hate to practice, but I love to play. I know I need to study and I know I need to practice. I know how important it is — doesn't mean I have to like it."
But he's willing to study because he lives for the moment. How else do you explain his 237 consecutive regular-season starts, the longest stretch ever by an NFL QB? In addition to owning country-boy strength, he's probably never gotten the credit he deserves for being so mentally strong.
Maybe it's because you think of No. 4 and you think of childish exuberance. From a distance, we've watched Favre jump the Lambeau Leap, throw snowballs in wintry storms, exchange taunts with Warren Sapp and encourage teammates with slaps and hugs.
Why did he come back? Why is he a New York Jet? Why is he taking on this challenge at this point of his Hall of Fame career?
"There's no substitute for Sundays and I've said that way back when," he said. "There's no way, playing in an NFL football game and getting to do the things that I've been able to do, you can replace that. It's impossible. Up until this point, I'm willing to do whatever it takes to continue doing that.
"It's harder. I felt 38 today, I'm not going to lie to you."
He didn't sling it all that well this morning and he said as much after the Jets' workout. The arm feels good and the legs feel a little fatigued, but that shouldn't make fans worry. Favre, a 6'2", 222-pounder with gray hair, says people can expect one thing from him and that's effort.
"I'll never guarantee anything, but I'll play my butt off," he said. "It can be ugly or it can be good, but I'll play as hard as I can and that's the only thing I know how to do. I'm excited about it — not only for this week but in the future."
After 16 years with the Packers, Favre said learning a new system hasn't been easy. But he thinks practice has "gone smoothly for the most part" and he'll be ready to play Saturday night against the Redskins.
"You want it to run like it should and I think for the most part we've done that," he said. "Now they haven't thrown everything at me, but I can go into a game and I think I could manage a game OK."
One of Favre's top targets will be Laveranues Coles. LC, who has not spoken with reporters since Chad Pennington was released, was approached today by Favre and the veteran passer was very open about their conversation.
It began with a good line.
"Look, I heard you're not talking to the media. I understand you don't want to say anything good about me. That's OK."
Coles said it wasn't that and then Favre turned sincere:
"Look, I'm not here to take Chad's spot or replace him."
Favre is aware of Coles' talent and has witnessed his production. He knows the Jets will need him to get to where they want to go.
"I think he'll realize, if he doesn't already, that I'm an easygoing guy and easy to work with," he told reporters. "You drop a ball, so what? I throw bad passes. We're in this thing together, and I'd like for us to come out of it together."
To get a better feel for all his receivers, Favre plans to get in the video room and watch tape from last year. He wants to see how all the vets run routes so he has a sense of where they're going before he releases the rock. For his part, Favre gave a quick scouting report on the Jets' top tandem — Coles and Jerricho Cotchery.
"Quick, deceptively powerful guys, hard to tackle and good in and out of space," he said. "Are those the type of guys that you want to drop back and throw deep into coverage? Probably not, but I think these guys are definitely in-space types of players."
As for his new space, Favre's taken to this team.
"I am happy to be here, I really am. It's a lot different than what I'm used to.
"Did I ever think it would end up this way? No. It's not over yet. I'm excited, I really like the guys."