Brett Favre, who had one up-and-down season with the Jets in 2008, addressed Jets reporters today on the prospect of returning to play the Jets as the Vikings quarterback on Monday night.
"I thought it was a great experience. I wish it would have ended better," Favre said. "Of course the start was amazing, I think probably more so than anyone could have envisioned. I made a lot of really good friends, played with a lot of really good players.
"It was a totally new experience for me. I think the world of [general manager] Mike Tannenbaum and [owner] Woody [Johnson] for giving me that opportunity."
Tannenbaum orchestrated the trade of a conditional fourth-round 2009 draft pick for Favre, who came in and led the Jets to an 8-3 start. But the Jets closed the season 1-4 after Favre tore a biceps muscle and the Jets were unable to put points on the board, scoring no more than 17 points in each of their last four losses.
While the Southern Mississippi product has frustrated some fans because of his multiple retirements in recent seasons, he hopes his commitment to the team will be recognized by Jets fans when he returns.
"I would hope, like with any place I played, people appreciate the effort I've given," Favre said. "Trust me, I take a lot of the blame, as a quarterback should. But I did all I could do. I hope that they appreciate that. That doesn't mean they have to like me. I know I'm coming in as an opponent."
This week as the Jets prepare for Favre and his newly acquired offensive weapon, wide receiver Randy Moss, everyone, including head coach Rex Ryan and quarterback Mark Sanchez, had positive words to say about the man who threw for 3,472 yards, 22 touchdowns and 22 interceptions in his one season as a Jet. In the 20th season of his career, Favre is only 500 passing yards and two touchdowns shy of 70,000 yards and 500 TD passes for his career.
"He has a great feel of the pocket," Ryan said. "He can throw the ball from every arm angle possible. He's a big, strong guy, too. He's not easy to get a hit on. He uses that cadence, the hard count. He does everything. He's a great competitor. He's a big, strong, tough guy. Sometimes in this league, durability is as important as athletic ability, and he's got both."
There will be an intriguing dynamic at New Meadowlands Stadium on Monday as the living legend, winding down his career, goes up against an up-and-coming star. Second-year Jets starter Mark Sanchez has thrown eight touchdowns and no interceptions through a quarter of the 2010 season and appears to be on his way to his own NFL story.
Favre's desire to retire after the '08 season was the impetus for Tannenbaum and the newly hired Ryan to trade up in the draft and nab Sanchez, the Southern Cal standout. This week Sanchez talked about how things may have been different if Favre had not decided to retire.
"I might not be here or I might have been here for one year with him, which would have been pretty cool," Sanchez said. "He's Brett Favre. He's a household name. It's so cool to see that and strive to be that kind of quarterback; a winner.
"You take things from everybody's game. You want to be able to run like Steve Young, have that comeback ability like Joe Montana and Dan Marino, and you want to be a winner and a competitor like Brett Favre. You want to be tough that way. It's pretty cool."